Croydon-born Olympian arrested in US prostitution sting

Lawrence OkoyePic: Wikimedia Commons

A former British Olympic athlete from Croydon has been arrested in a prostitution sting conducted by American police.

Lawrence Okoye was detained in Alabama for soliciting prostitution alongside 12 other men.

The 27-year-old achieved 12thplace in the discus event at the London 2012 Olympics before switching to American football.

He was arrested on Wednesday last week by Shelby County Drug Enforcement Task Force only four days before he was due to make his professional debut for the Alliance of American Football (AAF) team Birmingham Iron.

Okoye spent a night in Shelby County jail, before being released on bail after posting a $1,000 bond.

A statement released by police read: “On Wednesday February 6, the Shelby County Drug Enforcement Task Force, in partnership with the Hoover Police Department, conducted an undercover reverse prostitution sting, titled Operation Close Out, Round 3.”

Thirteen men were arrested and charged with the crime of soliciting prostitution.  The operation was carried out in North Shelby County.

Lawrence Okoye   Pic: Wikimedia Commons

When interviewed about Okoye’s arrest, Birmingham Iron head coach Tim Lewis said:“We are aware of it [the arrest]. We’re still in the process of gathering all the information.”

According to Okoye’s Wikipedia entry he was educated in Croydon at St Mary’s Roman Catholic Junior School and the Whitgift School, where he played rugby. He also played for London Irish and London Wasps.

He switched to the discus and won a gold medal at the 2011 European Under-23 championships at the age of 19 before taking part in the 2012 London Olympics. He switched to American football in 2013.

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