By KATE COIL
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Two men were arrested in McDowell County Friday for solicitation of prostitution while two women were arrested for assaulting an informant participating in the same prostitution sting.
Sgt. James Muncy with the McDowell County Sheriff’s Office said Clarence Wayne Belcher, 65, of Welch and Kenneth Eugene Hillyer, 75, of Kimball were both arrested on solicitation of prostitution during a sting in downtown Welch Friday.
Belcher and Hillyer were arraigned on the solicitation charges before Magistrate Richard VanDyke Friday who set their bond at $1,000 each, Muncy said.
A female confidential informant assisted deputies in the sting, Muncy said.
Muncy said deputies also arrested Shevon Linda King, 35, of Kimball and Bethel Clairce Baker, 24, of Welch, both on assault charges after the two women assaulted the confidential informant assisting officers in the sting.
“They wanted to make the confidential information leave the area,” Muncy said. “They threatened the informant verbally during the sting.”
Muncy said the sting was the first time many deputies with the sheriff’s office have worked to specifically target men soliciting prostitution in the area.
“This is the first time I’ve done a John sting and this was a first for our sheriff,” he said. “Once the men find out they can get in trouble too it may deter them. A lot of these men think they aren’t doing anything wrong or that they won’t get in trouble. You have to take away the demand as well as the supply if you want to decrease the problem.”
Muncy said prostitution is a growing problem in the area.
“It’s a growing problem throughout the county,” he said. “We see a lot more prostitution where the population is larger, especially in cities and towns.”
— Contact Kate Coil at firstname.lastname@example.org