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Brothel grossed $800K a year
Albertville police say Hispanic prostitution ring operated out of trailer park

ALBERTVILLE (AP) — A brothel that operated for years in a Northeast Alabama trailer park took in as much as $800,000 annually and may have forced some young Latin American women to work as prostitutes in return for being smuggled into the United States, police said Wednesday.

Three men were charged with promoting prostitution, and five other people were being held for immigration officials. All eight will eventually be deported to Mexico, said Police Chief Benny Womack.

Womack said investigators believe the brothel operated for as long as seven years inside a trailer park that caters to Hispanics. The operators moved between several trailers to stay a step ahead of law enforcement, and virtually all the customers were Spanish-speaking men, he said.

One of two women taken into custody appeared to be in her teens, the chief said, and authorities have been told that some young women were forced to work as prostitutes in exchange for being smuggled into the country.

“It’s a first for Albertville. This is not a city that normally has these problems,” said Womack.

An investigation that lasted about six months revealed the operation was taking in as much as $800,000 annually for years, according to the chief.

Womack said brothers Leon Miguel Martinez, 31, and Jose Martinez, 24, of Guntersville allegedly owned the operation, which was allegedly operated by Elias Miranda, 41. The brothers were believed to have also run a prostitution ring in Decatur, he said, but a police raid there turned up no suspects.

No Decatur probe

Contrary to TV news reports, Decatur police spokesman Lt. Chris Matthews said police are not investigating prostitution rings in Decatur at this time. Decatur police “shared information” with Albertville police during their investigation that may have helped lead to the arrests, he said.

Jail officials said there were no records to indicate whether the men had hired attorneys.

The brothers were arrested at a traffic stop Sunday, and Miranda and two women were arrested Monday during a raid of a trailer that was allegedly being used for prostitution.

Three other people were subsequently taken into custody, and Womack said additional arrests were possible. Daily reporter Kristen Bishop contributed to this article.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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