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January 19, 2018

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Newspaper ad helped lead to bust of suspected brothel


Christopher DeVargas

Metro Police raided an illegal brothel located at 2404 Kirk Ave. on Thursday, June 20, 2013.

Updated Friday, June 21, 2013 | 10:43 p.m.

Miguel Barahona

Miguel Barahona

Maricruz Ortiz-Guevara

Maricruz Ortiz-Guevara

Suspected brothel

A Metro Police detective found the advertisement on page 22 of Solo Ofertas Advertisement Co.’s Hispanic newspaper in March.

The detective had tracked the man suspected of running a brothel out of a home at 2404 Kirk Ave., near Eastern and Washington avenues, to the advertising office three days prior. And now, there was the ad listed with the same address and phone number they had been tracking.

“New Girls,” the advertisement read as translated from Spanish. “We are new in Las Vegas. We would like to spend some delicious time. We are young and beautiful. Come and meet us without any commitment. Special $40.”

That information was used in the investigation that led to a bust of an alleged brothel run out of the home on Thursday, nearly three months later, according to a Metro Police arrest report. A woman — 35-year-old Maricruz Ortiz-Guevara — was arrested along with Miguel Barahona, 46, on counts of pandering an adult and accepting the earnings of a prostitute, said Lou Pascoe, director of the Southern Nevada Human Trafficking Task Force.

The one-story home was operating as a brothel for at least several months, Metro Police say. An anonymous tip led Metro’s vice detectives to the location, Pascoe said.

When Metro’s SWAT section served a search warrant Thursday at the home, authorities located Ortiz-Guevara and Barahona at the residence, along with three female victims and a possible male client, Pascoe said. All were Hispanic.

A Metro Police arrest report indicates the following:

Metro Police received a tip on March 5 that the home was suspected of being a brothel. About one week later, police spoke with a Cox cable subcontracted worker who had responded to a service call at the home in February.

Upon arrival, the cable worker was told by a Hispanic man in his 40s that the house was having Internet difficulties. The worker was led into the home, where he saw three partially dressed women in the kitchen and another woman watching video surveillance on her laptop. Two other men sat on the couch.

Later he observed multiple vehicles drive up to the residence and park inside a gated area. When he returned inside the home, the bedroom doors were closed and he heard moaning. The women were gone from the kitchen.

Nearly every day from March 7 to June 11, police observed cars visiting the home until about 8 p.m., when either Barahona or Ortiz-Guevara locked up. They also saw Barahona bringing boxes of supplies and water bottles to the home.

The three women who were taken into custody all said they worked inside the home. They said it was Barahona’s job to restore their supplies, which consisted of oils and lubes, condoms, baby wipes and antibacterial gel. He was also in charge of parking and feeding the girls.

Inside, they said Ortiz-Guevara was in charge of collecting money from the clients and paying the girls, as well as answering the phone.

The women, who were all adults, told police customers paid $40 for 20 minutes, $60 for 30 minutes and $100 for one hour. They said they typically worked six days a week, and are paid about 50 percent of what is made at the end of the day.

Two of the women said they first heard about the job through a newspaper ad. The third woman said she was persuaded to leave her job working at a Mexican restaurant when one of the women told her she could make more money working at the home.

Ortiz-Guevara told police she did answer the phones, receive payments from customers and pay the girls at the end of their shifts. She said that because she was seven-months pregnant, Barahona had been helping out at the residence.

Barahona denied any knowledge that prostitution was taking place.

Authorities impounded two vehicles at the house and collected other evidence, but police declined to provide further information about the case, citing the ongoing investigation.

The discovery of a brothel isn’t new to Las Vegas. Pascoe said vice detectives had noticed a recent rise in brothels in the Las Vegas Valley and identified at least one other about 10 months ago.

“In residential brothels, it is not uncommon for a high amount of vehicles and pedestrians,” she said. “Citizens need to be aware of that.”

Authorities ask anyone who suspects a brothel might exist in their neighborhood to contact Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555. Residents also can call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center’s 24-hour hotline at 888-373-7888.

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