Feds bust alleged brothels and prostitutes in KY, TN - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Feds bust alleged brothels and prostitutes in KY, TN

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By Bennett Haeberle and WDRB News Staff    bhaeberle@fox41.com

LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- Federal authorities say they've broken up a massive prostitution and brothel ring that spanned five states and had operations in Kentucky and Tennessee.

Nine people were indicted on charges they allegedly recruited illegal aliens to work within a network of brothels and "prostitution delivery services" that included two Louisville locations.

Those nine people face conspiracy and prostitution charges as well as charges of transporting prostitutes across state lines.

Authorities believe the women were sold into a life of prostitution, received no healthcare and were forced to buy condoms using tips they earned from customers, according to the indictment. 

Before last week's bust, court records estimate the prostitution ring had been operating in Spanish-speaking communities for more than four years.

The women were illegal immigrants, forced to work 50 weeks a year and have sex up to 30 times a day, according to the feds. Customers would pay $30 for 15 minutes for sex.

Here in Kentucky, court records show those charged operated a brothel on Merioneth Drive in Jeffersontown and a prostitution delivery service on Riata Court in Louisville.

Neighbors living near the small brick home in Jeffersontown were surprised by the news. Some had noticed law enforcement cars around the house early last week when the bust and arrests were made.

"I had no idea that kind of thing was going on in this neighborhood. I'm shocked," said Becky Pattison, who lives in the area.

Neighbor Betty Mike said she had no idea the alleged brothel was operating less than 100 yards from her home.

"Oh my gosh... I'm here all the time you'd think I would see that," she said.

A WDRB reporter knocked on the door of the alleged brothel, but no one answered.

The federal indictment says the nine suspects traded prostitutes on a weekly basis – bringing them in from Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama to work in brothels in Tennessee and Kentucky.

Pattison noticed law enforcement last week.

"It was like 7:20 in the morning and I saw J-town Police cars and like eight to 10 other cars," she said.

Prosecutors say the house on Riata Court in the Newburg neighborhood was also part of the operation. Neighbors there told WDRB News that they saw maybe one or two men come out of this house at erratic times. Prosecutors say that it was this house where the prostitution delivery service was operated.

There we found latex gloves, trash, a flip flop and feminine products in the grass.

"That's not a victimless crime. If someone is indentured and that's how they get into this country and work it off. That's what I know about that sort of thing," Pattison said.

The indictments came after an investigation into human trafficking and prostitution networks that spread across Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina.  Those indictments say the suspects recruited Spanish-speaking women who were illegal aliens to become prostitutes.  They had 30 customers a day, worked Monday through Saturday, and had to travel between cities on Sundays.

Two suspects, Obdulio C. Morales and Esthela Silfa Vasquez, appeared in federal court last week. The other defendants charged were: Areli (true name unknown), Eusebio Flores Martinez, Rosa Garcia Menendez, Rubio Trinidad Narciso, Elda Dorali Moreno Ramirez, Raymundo Sanchez-Torres and Freddy Lopez Torres. They were indicted in Knoxville and Indianapolis.

The FBI worked with the Louisville Metro Police, Jeffersontown Police, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, and the Shelbyville Police Department in executing the arrest warrants.

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