Forty-one people were arrested during a six-hour undercover sting operation aimed at cracking down on prostitution in Sepulveda, Los Angeles police said Sunday.
The "trick task force" netted 39 men, one woman and a 17-year-old boy between 7 p.m. Saturday and 1 a.m. Sunday, said Sgt. Mike Krecioch.
The operation centered on the area near the intersection of Nordhoff Street and Sepulveda Boulevard, which has experienced problems with prostitution for some time, Krecioch said.
The sting involved five undercover policewomen posing as decoys and several male plainclothes officers. It was prompted by female students at nearby Sepulveda Junior High School who complained they were being solicited by passing men, said Sgt. Frank Reynoso of the Police Department's vice squad.
He said girls as young as 13 have been solicited in the area. Older women waiting on bus benches also have complained of lewd and aggressive soliciting, Reynoso said.
Most of those arrested were charged with misdemeanor solicitation, which is punishable by a $500 fine for the first offense and $1,000 for the second, Reynoso said.
He said one male suspect also was charged with possessing a concealed weapon after a gun was found in his car. The woman was arrested "because she was trying to compete with our undercover officers," Reynoso added.
The intersection where the arrests took place "has been famous for that type of activity for the last few years," said Krecioch.
By Sunday, all but three suspects had been released on bail or their own recognizance, Krecioch said. The others were held on warrants related to previous charges, he said.