A January police raid targeted six Tucson homes and businesses tied to a suspected prostitution ring that grossed up to $250,000 a year, a search warrant obtained by the Arizona Daily Star shows.
The warrant identifies 15 suspected female employees of the business, called “By Spanish,” and says that six to seven women typically worked per day, each seeing an average of three to four clients.
After a three-year investigation, the Tucson Police Department raided all six properties in one day and seized a house, $15,000 in cash, two vehicles and hundreds of items ranging from a stripper pole and women’s underwear to cellphones and computers, the search warrant shows.
But three months after the Jan. 27 raid, no charges have been filed, and the woman who police suspect ran the operation with her boyfriend has petitioned to get her possessions — and her home — back.
The search warrant says Clarissa Lopez, 30, and Ulises Ruiz, 30, ran By Spanish, which advertised on TucsonBackpage.com under the therapeutic massage section.
“The problem that we have here is that there’s been no indictment and no disclosure,” said Lopez’s attorney, Cornelia Honchar.
A motion that would force Lopez to forfeit the assets is pending in Superior Court. Honchar has filed a motion to dismiss the forfeiture, and a hearing is scheduled in June.
By Spanish operated at four locations, the search warrant says. It also says Lopez and Ruiz owned two businesses connected to By Spanish: the now-closed Apia Salon at 5834 E. Speedway, and FishCom, a pet store that still operates at 4604 S. Sixth Ave.
The investigation revealed that illicit and illegal services were “readily available for a price” through By Spanish, the search warrant said.
It says Lopez and Ruiz took a piece of the money paid for every service — usually $40 — and in exchange provided employees with “advertising services, scheduling services, a location to work out of, supplies to perform their work and cleanup services.”
Based on that $40 cut, Lopez and Ruiz had the potential to make more than $250,000 per year, the warrant says.
An undercover officer met with Lopez to discuss possible employment, during which Lopez “provided specific information on the inner workings of her business to include the expectation of ‘happy endings’ for the male clients and information regarding her ‘cut,’ ” the warrant says.
Detectives also located numerous online reviews of the business on Internet sites where “clients share and rate their illegal massage/sexual experience with the female employees,” the warrant says.
Financial documents seized in the raid indicate that By Spanish was facilitated through FishCom, which the warrant said “rarely has customers.”
It’s unclear if arrests were made at any of the properties, as police did not provide incident reports related to the raids.
Police records are typically sealed if releasing the information could jeopardize an ongoing investigation, said police spokesman Sgt. Peter Dugan.
He declined to comment about the investigation.