The cable television serviceman had reasons to be suspicious.
When making a service call to 2404 Kirk Ave., near Eastern and Washington avenues, he saw a woman sitting on the living room couch, watching video surveillance cameras on her laptop, according to a Las Vegas police report. Three women in miniskirts and skimpy clothing were in the house, with frequent male visitors coming and going. He also heard moans coming from the bedrooms and saw a variety of male visitors.
Those tips and others were passed to the Metropolitan Police Department in the months preceding the Thursday raid on a suspected brothel.
That effort yielded two arrests. Maricruz Ortiz-Guevara, 35, and Miguel Barahona 46, were each charged with pandering and accepting/receiving earnings from a prostitute, police said Friday. Ortiz-Guevara, who is seven-months pregnant, told police Barahona is her boyfriend.
Three adult Hispanic females also were at the house with another man, a suspected client, police said.
“It is alleged that no one was residing in this home other than it was being used as a front for illegal activity,” said Lou Pascoe, director of the Southern Nevada Human Trafficking Task Force.
Asked if the case has a trafficking element to it, Pascoe said the investigation is ongoing. “We’re treating the victims as victims.”
The bust comes as a new law goes into effect on July 1 with tougher penalties for pimps involved in trafficking. Officials at the Clark County district attorney’s office were unavailable for comment Friday.
Pascoe encourages people in the community to be aware of the signs of illegal brothels. Those include sporadic traffic, with male visitors coming and leaving after 30-minute or 60-minute periods, she said.
In March, police started conducting surveillance. That month, they tailed Barahona to Solo Ofertas Advertisement Company, a Hispanic newspaper. Using a phone number provided from an earlier tipster, investigators traced an advertisement written in Spanish to him.
In English, the advertisement promoted “new girls” and the chance to meet them “without any commitment.”
The price: “Special $40.”
Police also observed the house closing down by 8 p.m., with no one staying overnight, according to the report.
When police made their move on Thursday, three females told police they were hired to work as prostitutes and interviewed by either Ortiz-Guevara or Barahona. Their fees ranged from $40 for 20 minutes to $100 for an hour, and they were paid 50 percent of what they made at the end of each day, according to the report.
Police found condoms stored in an apple-shaped container in the kitchen. The bedrooms were sparsely furnished and had nightstands containing oils and lubes, condoms, baby wipes and antibacterial gel, the police report said.
Two of the three prostitutes told police they heard about the job through an advertisement, the report said. A third heard about it from a friend already working at the house, the report said.
Ortiz-Guevara and Barahona took care of different parts of the operation, according to the police report. Ortiz-Guevara answered the phones, handled money from clients and paid the prostitutes, while Barahona kept the house stocked with supplies and told the customers where to park, according to the report.
The two didn’t own the house, though.
Property records show the owner is KM6, a limited liability company registered to Jason Mattson. Mattson, a real estate broker and landlord, said he’s renting out the house.
Reached for comment on Friday, he said it was the first he’d heard of the brothel bust at his rental property. Mattson said he hasn’t been contacted by police.
However, it’s unclear if the suspects or other women are the renters.
The names of those arrested and interviewed don’t match the tenant, who was a single woman, according to Mattson’s assistant.
Contact reporter Ben Botkin at bbotkin@ reviewjournal.com or 702-405-9781. Follow him on Twitter @BenBotkin1.