SHELBY COUNTY, Ala. -- A reverse prostitution sting netted 13 arrests in Shelby County Wednesday.
Among those arrested is 27-year-old Lawrence Okoye, a defensive tackle for the Birmingham Iron. The team's general manager, Joe Pendry, said “We have just been made aware of the incident. We are still in the process of gathering facts.”
The team is scheduled to play their season opener at Legion Field on Sunday.
The operation, conducted by Shelby County's Drug Enforcement Task Force and Hoover Police, was carried out in North Shelby County.
The following suspects are charged with soliciting prostitution:
In addition, Jude Christopher Burke, 39, was arrested during the sting and charged with unlawful distribution of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of marijuana and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia.
"Our goal is very simple, we want to run out and drive out the demand for prostitution," Capt. Clay Hammac of the Shelby County Drug Enforcement Task Force. "We find that prostitution is very often intertwined with human trafficking, and human trafficking has deep roots in more illicit crimes such as narcotics crimes. Our goal is very simple. We want to make this as uncomfortable of an area in Shelby County for this type of industry to thrive."