FREEPORT — A police sting on March 2 at an unidentified Route 1 motel led to the arrests of 11 men on charges of soliciting prostitution.

Ten of the men are Maine residents; one lives in Virginia.

Freeport police worked with neighboring police agencies to conduct the sting, which Freeport police Lt. Nathaniel Goodman described in a press release as being “short in duration.”

The alleged johns were arrested when police determined that there was probable cause to believe they had agreed to exchange money for a sex act with an undercover police officer.

Goodman said it is known that many area prostitutes are addicted to drugs or are being trafficked in some manner.

“Potential customers should be aware that police departments in the greater Portland area are actively targeting (customers) and (customers) will be arrested if they violate the Engaging a Prostitute statute. Engaging in Prostitution and Engaging a Prostitute are both crimes according to Maine law,” Goodman said.

Those arrested were William Policano, 28, Windham; Baron Rogers, 60, Hampton, Va.; Leonard Merrill, 60, Durham; Peter Light, 47, South Portland; Christopher Lavalley, 31, Lisbon Falls; Milan Simanic, 31, Portland, Brian Jones, 48, Augusta; Gerard Bowes, 53, West Poland; John Verreault, 55, Saco; Claude Cotnoir, 59, Oxford, and Hady El Ahmar, 42, Berwick.

All of the men are presumed innocent until they are convicted in a court of law, Goodman noted. The men are scheduled to be arraigned May 2 at 8:30 a.m. in West Bath District Court, he said Wednesday.

Participating police departments included Yarmouth, South Portland, Gorham, Auburn and Windham, plus the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department and members of the FBI Safe Streets Task Force.

Lisa D. Connell can be reached at 781-3661, ext. 183 or [email protected]. Follow Lisa on Twitter: @connell_ld.

Updated Wednesday, March 8, 2016.

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