The Tigard Police conducted a sting operation on March 22, arrested the men including one from Tigard and one from Beaverton

TIMES FILE PHOTO - Tigard police arrested four men, charging them with commercial sexual solicitation durig a sting operation at a local motel.Four area men soliciting prostitutes were arrested Thursday following a sting operation at a Tigard hotel.

The Tigard Police Department's Commercial Crimes Unit conducted the operation in an effort to target and arrest prostitution customers, often referred to as "johns."

As a result, four adult males were taken into custody and charged with commercial sexual solicitation. They included: Richard Imel, 45, of Milwaukie; Roman Lara-Jacome, 43, of Tigard; Cordell Lee, 27, of Beaverton; and Benjamin Wagner, 32, of Portland, according to a news release from the Tigard Police Department. 

In all, detectives received more than 70 contacts drawn from various ads placed by investigators, which led to the four arrests. Assisting Tigard police were the Lake Oswego Police Department, the Washington County Sheriff's Department and the Washington County District Attorney's Office.

The operation took place throughout the day at a Tigard hotel where several Tigard Police detectives set-up shop.

"Frequently, police are contacted by businesses expressing frustration and concerns about suspected prostitution operating out of their business outlet," the news release stated. "In response to their needs, Tigard Police began to place focus on the crimes of prostitution that now operates significantly through use of technology, along with many other criminal ventures."

Police said the acts of prostitution are mostly arranged beforehand using telephone, websites and social media and that Tigard investigators in the past have conducted probes into such advertising, which resulted in numerous arrests.

Tigard police said prostitution is not a victimless crime, noting that "the numbers are staggering regarding victims compelled into prostitution; now more likely to be connected to human trafficking."

Last winter, Tigard police conducted an operation with the express intent for educating those who might solicit prostitutes, which yielded 40 contacts.

Although detectives had sufficient probable cause to arrest them at the time, they were all giving warnings instead, told they would likely be arrested if they were identified in a future operation connected to commercial sexual solicitation.

Police plan to continue similar operations during the year.

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