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Men not without criminal defense in Canaan prostitution arrests

Prostitution arrests of men in New Hampshire have not been a major focus for law enforcement officers. The police chief of Canaan, however, decided to open that grim book in his tiny town of 4,000 residents by sending undercover cops online to pose as prostitutes. They lured the men with inviting ads that caused the men to allegedly offer money for sex. They made at least four arrests by the time the dust had begun to settle, but it appears that the men are not without a criminal defense to the charges.

What is really shocking and has brought notoriety to Canaan is that one of the three men is a former elementary school principal who recently resigned over an issue of the mishandling of money at the school. One other individual, a 55-year-old Enfield man, was subjected to a search of his car. They arrested him on the additional charges of having drugs in an automobile and possessing oxycodone allegedly stored there.

The police chief commented extensively to reporters about his concern regarding the heroin problem and the issue of human trafficking. He admitted that these arrests had nothing to do with human trafficking or heroin. The emphasis on those two problems in the extensive press coverage, however, has likely added some sticky layers of innuendo to the reputations of the men arrested. It appears likely that the intensive press coverage stressing heroin and human trafficking will add to the punishing impact on these men.

The chief insinuated generally that because women sell themselves to buy drugs that the arrests of these men had some connection to putting a dent in the hard drug trade. He indicated the same type of expansive logic in reasoning a potential impact on the human trafficking problem. Counsel for the defendants will have several criminal defense issues to argue. Regarding the one drug charge, it can be strongly argued that the police exceeded their authority under New Hampshire law by making a search without probable cause of a drug violation. The other charges suggest the possibility of entrapment and other defenses associated with online overreaching.

Source:, "Upper Valley community shocked over prostitution arrests", Meghan Pierce, April 30, 2016

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