GRAND RAPIDS (WWJ) – Federal authorities say they have broken up a prostitution ring that smuggled women from Mexico and Latin America to work in brothels in west Michigan and other areas of the Midwest.

Deputy U.S. Attorney Brad Shepard in Indianapolis said federal, state and local authorities have made 19 arrests in Michigan, Indiana and Illinois.

Women were recruited to work in Grand Rapids, Chicago, Cincinnati and Indianapolis, and were rotated weekly to avoid detection.

Brothels were set up mainly in apartments, where “customers” bought 20-minute sessions with the prostitutes for about $50.

Authorities think the ring was masterminded by three brothers, Jose Luis “Pedro” Hernandez-Castilla, Norberto “Jorge” Hernandez-Castilla and Gregorio “Paco” Hernandez-Castilla.

The brothers allegedly used business cards advertising car repairs and other services to attract clients.

It appears none of those charged with racketeering and conspiracy are legal U.S. residents.


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