7 arrested in Springfield undercover prostitution sting

Crime

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Seven men were arrested during an undercover prostitution sting in Springfield last week.

According to the Springfield Police Department’s spokesman Ryan Walsh, on Thursday, May 27, members of the Springfield Police Narcotics Unit under the direction of Capt. Brian Keenan, Springfield Police Detectives, Massachusetts State Police Gang Unit, Hampden County Sheriff’s Department and Massachusetts State Police High Risk Victims Unit under the direction of Lt. Edward Hattan, conducted an undercover operation targeting “Johns.” This operation was carried out in response to ongoing quality of life complaints from citizens in the South End neighborhood.

The following men were arrested and charged with the following:

  • Raymond Mercado-Molina (29) of West Springfield was arrested near the intersection of Main and State Streets.
    • Sexual Conduct for a Fee
  • Charlamagne Mata (49) of Springfield was arrested on Central Street. He also allegedly had a License to Carry and a loaded gun in his vehicle, which has since been revoked.
    • Sexual Conduct for a Fee
    • Firearms license violation
  • Timothy Jackson (260 of Palmer was arrested on Union Street.
    • Sexual Conduct for a Fee
  • Antonio Howie (24) of Springfield was arrested on Wendall Place.
    • Sexual Conduct for a Fee
  • Christopher Cabrera (28) of Springfield was arrested on Broad Street.
    • Sexual Conduct for a Fee
  • Henry Festa (59) of Springfield was arrested on Longhill Street.
    • Sexual Conduct for a Fee
  • Aarron Gamble (22) of East Hartford, Connecticut was arrest on Wendall Place.
    • Sexual Conduct for a Fee

“Many of the women involved in these activities struggle with substance use and are victims themselves, and we will continue to work with our partner agencies to provide them with the help and resources they need,” said Commissioner Clapprood. “These coordinated efforts with the Massachusetts State Police address numerous quality of life complaints from our residents, and through continued operations like this, we want to make it clear that if you are soliciting prostitution in our city, you will be arrested.”

“This is a quality of life issue and is not a victimless crime,” Mayor Domenic J. Sarno said. “To those prostituting themselves, unfortunately it is a cry for help and we will continue to steer them towards the appropriate agencies for assistance.”

The undercover prostitution sting is the first such large-scale operation for the department since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, that targeted “Johns” in the Springfield area.

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