Let’s say you live in Las Vegas next to some neighbors you never see. They put out 5 overflowing trash cans every week, but you never see them. Cabs constantly arrive with male passengers in the middle of the night. If this is you, there is a very good chance you are living next door to an illegal brothel, perhaps with trafficking victims, perhaps even children. If this SHOULD happen to you, please don’t assume a bunch of cab drivers live there! Please call the police immediately. Oh, and write down those cab license plates, they will help the police quite a bit. Thank you for your attention to this public service announcement.
These arrests took place in April. Why are these not indicted until December? We’re going to have to speed up this process a bit, everyone. Chances are there are many more operations like this one.
From Las Vegas Now
Illegal Brothel Ring Broken Up In Las Vegas
Chris Saldana Reporting
Four men have been indicted on federal charges of running illegal brothels in Las Vegas.
The four also face charges of human trafficking.
Three of the men, Jia Hui Keyes, Christopher Smith and Mouhua Liu, have been arrested. A fourth man, Xiao Hong Qi, is still on the loose.
A two-year investigation led to these charges. Police say the four men transported women across state lines into Las Vegas to work as prostitutes. The men used four different homes in a radius of about two to five miles apart.
Authorities say they persuaded the women, some of whom were in Las Vegas illegally to work at the brothels as prostitutes. The women were primarily of Asian decent.
A neighbor who lives near one of the homes tells Eyewitness News she knew something suspicious was going on.
“I saw people. Cabs would be there at night. I thought maybe cab drivers lived there together and they would just run in and get something to eat and run back out and did their work because I never saw anybody. No cars in the drive way. No signs of anyone living there except like four to six trash cans over flowing,” she said.
Lauren Hermossillo is with the Salvation Army and works with Metro’s Human Trafficking Department. She says signs like this should be a red flag to neighbors.
“If you see people not coming out in the normal hours, taxi cabs approaching the house, limos approaching the house, individuals walking in and out of the house in the middle of the night, you probably have a brothel,” she said.
Police say typically the women worked 10 to 15 days at one brothel before being circulated to another.
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4 Indicted in “Operation Doll House” prostitution case in Vegas
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Four people have been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges they transported Asian women to southern Nevada and operated a ring of neighborhood brothels.
Federal prosecutors contend that Jia Hui Keyes, Christopher Smith, Mouhua Liu and Xiao Hong Qi ran the ring out of several Las Vegas homes raided in April following a two-year investigation dubbed “Operation Doll House.”
Keyes, 42, Smith, 34, and Liu, 38, all of Las Vegas, were arraigned Monday in U.S. District Court following their arrests on Friday.
Each pleaded not guilty to interstate racketeering, prostitution, coercion and conspiracy charges, and Keyes and Liu also pleaded not guilty to charges of possession with intent to distribute the drug ecstasy. Each could face decades in federal prison if convicted.
Qi, 35, remained at large after she was named in an arrest warrant.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Lawrence Leavitt ordered Keyes held without bail after Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Johnson described her as a leader of the operation.
Smith, who married Keyes in September 2006, was accused of running day-to-day brothel operations while selling ecstacy and methamphetamine to customers.
The judge set bail for Smith at $25,000 with electronic home monitoring, and postponed Liu’s bail hearing until Thursday to let him hire a lawyer.
Las Vegas police said in April they believed at least some of the 25 women found working in more than seven residential brothels were victims of human trafficking.
But authorities found no force, fraud or coercion, FBI Agent David Staretz said, and prosecutors declined pursue human trafficking charges.
Two other men arrested as part of the investigation pleaded guilty several weeks ago in Nevada state court to lesser charges and were sentenced to probation.
Ping Sheng Chang pleaded guilty to attempted pandering and John Gregory Keyes pleaded guilty to living from the earnings of a prostitute, authorities said.