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Prostitution bust nets 68 arrests in Hilltop neighborhood

In the same west side neighborhood where police started carrying naloxone for opiate overdoses, undercover officers arrested 68 people in a two-day prostitution sting. (WSYX/WTTE)

In the same west side neighborhood where police started carrying naloxone for opiate overdoses, undercover officers arrested 68 people in a two-day prostitution sting.

The operation focused on Sullivant Avenue wrapped up at 2 a.m. Friday.

Vice-Narcotics Lt. Ron Kemmerling said they made nine arrest in one particular hour and all the women arrested confessed to heroin addiction.

"Heroin is what drives them to be out here night and day, 24 hours a day, seven days a week," said Lt. Kemmerling.

For Ashley Sweeney, her arrest for "loitering for prostitution" Thursday afternoon marked her 11th solicitation related charge.

This time, she said she did nothing wrong.

"I was walking across the street," said Sweeney. "Supposedly, the vice officer called me across the street and asked me if I wanted a ride. I said, 'No.'"

Police say they saturated the area with undercover officers for two days straight after receiving an excessive amount of complaints from citizens, neighborhood groups and 311.

Once they arrested the women, officers then concentrated on the "Johns" and arrested 24 men in the operation.

Police say they record all transactions that lead to an arrest.

Solicitation is a misdemeanor and police say many times the suspects end up right back on the street.

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