Operation Nets Human Trafficking Suspect and Eight Would-be “Johns”
BURLINGTON — Police Chief Michael R. Kent reports that the Burlington Police Department on Friday arrested nine men during one of the prostitution sweeps announced last month by the department. In the process of conducting the operation, the undercover officer was approached by an alleged human trafficker, who attempted to “recruit” the undercover officer to work for him.
Similar to operations conducted in years past, the Burlington Police Department Detective Unit conducted a reverse sting to target potential customers for prostitutes and human traffickers. This is done in an effort to drive these kinds of crimes away from Burlington, a hub of commerce and hotels and a crossroads of several major highways.
For the operation, a female police officer posted ads on a website that is well-known for being a haven for classified ads offering sex for a fee.
• Emad Aljahdii (age 34, of Burlington)
• Aaron Bath (age 43, of Billerica)
• Richard Homsi (age 50, of Waltham)
• Auric Mak (age 35, of Lowell)
• Grishkumar Patel (age 53, of Woburn)
• Anthony Petruno (age 29, of Acton)
• Lawrence Rounds (age 49, of Reading)
• Mauro Santiago (age 36, of Dracut)
• Shakwaan Simpkins (age 24, of Brockton)
All of the suspects except SIMPKINS were charged with Engaging in Sexual Conduct for a fee. SIMPKINS was charged with Trafficking of Persons for Sexual Servitude after he responded to the sting operation advertisement and called the undercover officer, arranging to meet and attempting to “recruit” her to work as a prostitute for him.
HOMSI was also charged with Indecent Assault and Battery on a Person Over Age 14 after he allegedly groped the undercover officer. He was arrested without incident, and the officer was not injured.
“The arrest of Mr. Simpkins puts an exclamation mark on this operation, and it shows exactly why we get out there regularly in an attempt to interdict sex crimes in our community,” Chief Kent said. “Prostitution is not a victimless crime, and we can only wonder how many other people like Simpkins are out there, luring, trapping, and victimizing women who do not happen to be an undercover police officer.”
This most recent sting operation was broadly advertised with a media campaign by the Burlington Police Department in an attempt to scare off people from coming to Burlington for prostitution.
“We will do these operations until nobody shows up to be arrested,” said Detective James Tigges, who helped execute the sting.
The nine individuals arrested will be arraigned Tuesday in Woburn District Court.