TAMPA — Police took on the city's most notorious prostitution drag this weekend in a two-day sting that nabbed 17 men on charges including soliciting to commit prostitution and possession of drugs and stolen firearms.
The Tampa Police Department's street anticrime squad targeted the area of N Nebraska Avenue and E Emily Street in Southeast Seminole Heights on Friday and Saturday nights.
Lt. Diane Hobley-Burney said police conduct these types of stings in response to complaints from neighbors.
Residents of Southeast Seminole Heights have battled crime in the area for years, with "hooker patrols" that take to the streets at night with flashlights, shooing prostitutes away.
Illegal activity all but disappeared until about three months ago, when neighbors started seeing more streetwalkers.
Neighbors recently met with police to address the situation.
"TPD was really quick to listen to us," said neighborhood association president Sherry Genovar-Simons. "They have really been paying consistent attention to the area. It's helped the problem enormously."
Police said the following men were charged:
Joseph Phillips, 46, Tampa; Louis E. Texidor, 34, Tampa; Michael Jimerson, 18, Tampa; Donald V. Jones, 47, Tampa; Eduardo Garcia, 41, Orlando; Kesnel Joseph, 31, Tampa; Jerry A. Booker, 43, Tampa; Gregorio Velasco, 39, Tampa; Kenneth Yana, 42, Spring Hill; Cano Bernadin, 29, Temple Terrace; Bigenson Lubin, 23, Tampa; Samuel Hines, 73, Selah, Wash.; Robert Torrence, 44, Tampa; Daniel J. Klein, 42, Tampa; Ervin D. Sharpe, 39, St. Petersburg; Peter Sanchez, 50, Tampa; and Shaun A. Sanders, 29, Tampa.
Alexandra Zayas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3354.