Two Annapolis police officers posing as prostitutes on West Street picked up nine men on solicitation charges over the weekend.
Traffic slowed to a crawl every night as the women, dressed casually in jeans and jackets, walked back and forth on the street that's become a notorious hangout for streetwalkers. The men were arrested after they rolled down their car windows and propositioned the officers, police said.
"There weren't any (prostitutes) out there, but there was plenty of business," said Officer Dermott Hickey, a spokesman for the Annapolis Police Department. "They said it was bumper-to-bumper."
Charged with solicitation Friday night were Gerald Stuart Christensen, 32, of the 900 block of Boucher Avenue; Ramiree Bulmaro, 19, of the 2500 block of Lafayette Avenue; and Austin Lopez, 22, of the first block of Lafayette Avenue, all from the city.
Those charged Saturday night and early Sunday were identified as Aurelio S. Paucar, of the firstblock of Madison Place in Annapolis; Warren Scurry, 39, of Magothy Beach Road in Pasadena; and Geraldo G. Martinez, 26, of the 1500 blockof Winter Berry Drive in Arnold.
Charged Sunday night were MiguelA. Mendoza, 23, of the 100 block of Primrose Court, and Jordan D. Scharf, 24, of the first block of Garden Gate Lane, both in Annapolis; and Santos I. Melendes, 19, of Falls Church, Va.
The weekend's arrests marked the biggest sting since police began stepping up patrols of West Street. Area residents and business owners have been frustrated by continuing prostitution in the 200 block of West Street, half amile from the State House and the city's historic Church Circle.
Ten women have been picked up on prostitution charges and 22 men werecharged with solicitation since the beginning of the year, police said.
Community leaders plan to meet today to discuss the problem. Several expressed concern that police efforts to clear the street of prostitution weren't working.
"It just amazes me that they arrest them and they're back on the streets," said Alderwoman Ruth Gray, R-Ward 4. "Obviously, we're not dealing with rocket scientists here. I just don't know what more our police can do."