FBI Hit Hispanic Brothels

Jared Allen

A joint Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Metro Police Department operation led to the weekend bust of the fifth Hispanic brothel that local authorities have taken down this year.

And investigators on Monday confirmed that the FBI's Nashville field office has taken the lead in looking into whether the operators of numerous Hispanic brothels in South Nashville are also violating federal anti-human trafficking laws.

So far, no charges of human trafficking have been brought against any of the dozen or so brothel managers arrested this year. Authorities did say the conditions in which the prostitutes are found living and working - including the low pay and frequent johns - continue to raise questions about human trafficking.

At the same time, though, local police believe their multiple busts are leading them further up the managerial ladder, and ultimately closer to what they believe may be a centralized organization responsible for securing the women, setting up the brothels and hiring managers and even armed security guards.

Metro Vice Squad Detective Joe Ladnier oversaw the weekend arrest of two managers and two prostitutes working out of a small apartment near the intersection of Old Hickory Boulevard and Nolensville Pike in Antioch.

Arrested and charged with prostitution were a 41-year-old and a 38-year-old female, both from the Dominican Republic, police said.

Police also arrested two managers, Oscar Rolando Castillo-Gonzalez, 28, and Juan Antonio Ruiz, 36, both of who listed the brothel as their home address. Castillo-Gonzalez and Ruiz are both charged with felony counts of promoting prostitution.

Ladnier said the preliminary investigation has shown that while Castillo-Gonzalez and Ruiz are low-level managers, they are both part of the same prostitution ring, the higher-ups of which are still at large, and likely running as many as 10 additional brothels - all catering solely to Hispanics - around Nashville.

"This one is definitely related to some of the others," Ladnier said. "Even some of the ones we've taken down this year."

In March Metro Police raided a similar apartment-style brothel - where Hispanic customers were paying $30 for sex, and where the women were seeing as many as 10 or more clients a day - located at 124 Welworth St. in Madison.

The two prostitutes and two managers found working inside the Welworth Street apartment were identified as illegal immigrants.

The four individuals arrested over the weekend were identified as illegal immigrants upon their booking into the Metro-Davidson County Jail, which now has the ability to run instant immigration checks through a federal database.

All four defendants are being detained on immigration holds.

Castillo-Gonzalez and Ruiz are scheduled to have a preliminary hearing today in General Sessions Court.

Police are hoping the two plead guilty and agree to provide information about any larger prostitution operation they may be a part of.

Stephen Richardson, the FBI's Supervisory Special Agent in Nashville, said his office could not comment on an ongoing investigation.

Sphere: Related Content

No comments: