Operation Charlie Leads to 8 Arrests

Dec. 12 - The Lowe Mill Village area, a neighborhood whose residents are fed up with prostitutes, and now is the focal point of Operation Charlie.

Wednesday night, that operation led to eight arrests. Seven women and one man were taken into custody on prostitution charges.

Bill Chappell, Huntsville Police officer said, "We let them flag a customer down, we let them get in the car with the customer, and then we'd followed them a little ways further, usually they pulled into a vacant lot maybe such as what you're standing in here right now, and we'd catch them in the act."

"We've arrested one, for, all she wanted was a pack of cigarettes for the deal. So, and that's prostitution, it's a monetary value, that's what the deal was, and she's in jail for that now."

Police say they've received complaints for years about prostitution in Lowe Mill Village and the community here played a big role in taking these suspected prostitutes off the street.

"The community would call in tips about when they were out there, certain times of day, and certain locations, and it's really helped us," said Huntville Police officer Doug Hemphill.

Michelle McMullen lives in Lowe Mill Village, and leads a group that's hoping to revitalize the neighborhood. "The main goal, for Lowe Mill Village, is to go in and take this area back."

"We'd love to continue to see stings on a pretty consistent basis, it'd be a fantastic thing." And police say Operation Charlie is not over. More stings like this one are on the way.

"It's not far from our precinct. It's happening almost right in our back door. And we're gonna react to it and we're gonna put a stop to it."

And two of those suspected prostitutes were fugitives from justice. They are wanted on felony charges in Missouri and Florida, so it will be awhile before they'll be back in Huntsville.