5 arrested in Norristown brothel bust
NORRISTOWN, Pa. - March 4, 2010 (WPVI) -- Five people are charged in connection with running two brothels in Montgomery County and one of them operated right across from a school.
The alleged crimes took place in 2008 and 2009. The charges were held today because of a similar federal probe.
Authorities say 36-year-old Jose David Castillo, a twice deported Mexican national, ran a 5 man ring of illegal aliens that processed and sold crack cocaine and ran two houses of prostitution in Norristown.
It was a cash rich operation. Its alleged clients would come to one of Castillo's row house brothels, pay $30, and get a ticket. A prostitute who worked in a small, grim room would redeem the tickets for 15 minutes of sex.
Montgomery County district attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said Castillo brought in new women every Monday from out of New York.
"Saturday and Monday being the best days because on Saturday the customers would have more money and on Monday they had a fresh crop of girls, so every week they would start with a fresh crop of girls and they would be working all week long," Ferman said.
Ferman said Castillo's group used intimidation to keep the women, originally from Mexico and Ecuador, from running away.
"The women were brought to the United States illegally; they were often brought in with promises of a better life, promises of employment. They were typically not coming here to be prostitutes," Ferman said.
Various shrines were found, with images of Santa Muerte, the angel of death, said to be the saint of criminals and outcasts. It's thought that Castillo's crew set up the shrines to protect them from being arrested.
Castillo and the four others remain in jail under $50,000 cash bail and federal immigration detainers.
pennsylvania, norristown, crime, john rawlins
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