Los Angeles: A routine check of a business use permit leads to the arrests of more than 80 people during an operation that also uncovered drugs, large amounts of cash and alcohol at a hostess club.
On November 5, 2010, Los Angeles Police Department Central Area vice officers concluded a nearly four month investigation into illegal activities at the 907 Club at 9th and Hill Street in Downtown Los Angeles. The operation was not an immigration investigation, but is an on-going criminal investigation.
It began after a routine check of conditional-use-permit requirements. Vice investigators found six employees in possession of fraudulent California identifications, which included using the identities of real persons and their driver’s license numbers. Investigators also learned a 17-year-old girl, who had been reported missing by her parents, might be working in the club.
Over the course of the investigation, undercover officers found more violations during four separate inspections. Among those violations were overcrowding, lewd acts being performed, and alcohol dispensing. The hostess club’s conditional use permit strictly prohibits the serving of alcohol and does not allow nudity or other adult entertainment. During the course of the investigation the LAPD learned U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) agents were already conducting their own investigation into the potential federal violations involving the creation and use of fraudulent identifications to gain employment status.
Vice officers obtained a search warrant from a judge after developing enough information to believe the business may be a front for prostitution, in violation of labor laws and possibly involved in human trafficking.
Vice officers arrested a total of 88 persons, all employees. The 81 women and seven men were booked on charges including conspiracy to commit prostitution, possession of fraudulent identification, various gambling violations and violation of the conditional use permit. Under that permit, the 907 Club is allowed to have a maximum capacity of 250 patrons. When police arrived, they found over 400 persons inside. Officers also seized two bags of cocaine powder, over $100,000 in cash, condoms, and liquor.
While at the club, LAPD officers separated those that were patrons, and those that were employees and management of the club. Patrons were released from the club. The employees and management were transported to the LAPD’s Central Area station. All employees who had valid identification were detained and released after booking. Those who had fraudulent or no identification, were subject to questioning by LAPD and HSI agents.
Again, the operation was never an immigration investigation. It is strictly a criminal investigation into labor code violations, human trafficking concerns, prostitution, possession of fraudulent California identification cards, gambling and violation of a conditional use permit. Homeland Security Investigation agents will be conducting a separate investigation against the business owners and managers of the 907 Club.