ROBESON COUNTY, N.C. (WPDE) — During an undercover operation on Friday, Oct. 1 five men were arrested in Robeson County and charged with solicitation of prostitution.
The Sheriff’s Office said the operation was to identify potential victims of human trafficking and persons engaging in illegal prostitution.
The identified females were given the opportunity to speak with Sheriff Burnis Wilkins, Sgt. Hollis McNeill and a Peer Support Specialist from Robeson Health Care Corporation (RHCC) about a variety of programs that will assist them with fighting their addictions and improving their lifestyles.
While this seems small to some, this special operation would bring tears to your eyes if you could have heard these ladies stories,” officials said. “The best part is, we are helping them. To the guys seeking to use females that are battling their own demons, go somewhere else. That lady you may be speaking to might just be an undercover officer as some saw last night.
According to a release, Francisco Hidalgo Tixteco, 44, Mica Mcdonald, 43, Luis Miguel Hidalgo, 24, of Raeford and Henry Stephens, 65, of St. Pauls were arrested and charged with misdemeanor solicitation of prostitution. They were each placed in the custody of the Robeson County Detention Center with a $1,000 secured bond.
Charles Wall, 45, of Raeford was arrested and charged with solicitation of prostitution, possession of stolen firearm and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Wall was placed in the custody of the Robeson County Detention Center with a $15,000 secured bond.
“I am excited about the newly developed partnership with the Robeson County District’s Attorney Office, Robeson County Judges and other agencies in the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program,” Sheriff Burnis Wilkins said. “The program allows individuals with low-level offenses to enter alternative programs instead of going through the prosecution process and receiving active sentences. The programs will allow the individuals to seek help for their addictions and reduce recidivism in our criminal justice system. The Sheriff’s Office currently has two (2) deputies assigned to the program and will soon be adding a Peer Specialist. The benefits of the program have already been seen and there will be many more success stories to come.”
Lumberton Police Department, Fayetteville Police Department and Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) assisted with the operation.
Anyone with information about human trafficking and/or illegal prostitution is asked to contact the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office at (910) 671-3170 or (910) 671-3100.