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A string of brothels in the San Gabriel Valley used sophisticated covert operations in residential neighborhoods to avoid detection by authorities, authorities said Tuesday. The brothels, which operated in Monterey Park, Alhambra and Rowland Heights, employed Chinese immigrants and used private homes to set up meetings between johns and hookers, officials said.
All three are currently being held without bond, said Thom Mrozek, spokesman for the U. Department of Justice. Arraignment is scheduled for Aug. Gao appeared in court Tuesday afternoon and pleaded not guilty. Authorities were tipped to the prostitution ring by an customer who was facing deportation, Vardan Grigoryan, a special agent with ICE, wrote in a federal affidavit.
In one suitcase the agent described finding several documents, including copies of passports, notarized documents from the Chinese government and several cartons of cigarettes. During the operation, one female Chinese national believed to be employed by the defendants was taken into ICE custody on immigration violations. Besides several brothels, agents believe the ring operated an out-call service for select clients in the San Gabriel Valley.
Lotto and Fu also drew the attention of agents for purchases at Costco. The pair bought napkins, handwipes and sanitizers in bulk, Gregoryan noted. The federal charge of importing and harboring an alien for purposes of prostitution carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, while conspiracy to commit marriage fraud is punishable by up to five years in prison, officials said.
The state charges — both of which call for mandatory state prison commitment upon conviction — carry a maximum sentence of seven years and four months, ICE officials said. By Frank C. Girardot Frank. Girardot sgvn. More in News. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email.