In 2017, West Palm Beach police officers knew about several possible prostitution houses throughout the city. It wasn’t until August of the following year that a victim of human trafficking released the locations of the brothels and dropped the names of the people running them.
The victim told officers about three residences where the bosses of the prostitution ring conducted business. She also noted that one of the three women working at one of the locations was 16 years old. The victim revealed details about the prostitution ring’s operations, such as how the bosses would rotate women every Sunday, and the prices they set for services.
The man allegedly running these brothels is 30-year-old Domingo Diaz. Police state that Diaz recruited women from outside of the United States to work for him by threatening to kill their families. This tactic worked.
Police Revisit West Palm Beach Brothels
The victim told officers she had witnessed police at the homes on previous occasions, but the bosses hid or disposed of evidence. The bosses told the workers to lie to police about their relationship to them. Officers surveyed the premises of all three locations from November 2017 until May 2018.
722 Belvedere Road
At this location, police had conducted positive trash pulls and gathered several plastic bags filled with evidence of prostitution, including paper towels, condom wrappers, and used condoms. Officers said they saw nearly 125 potential male customers walk in and out and stay no longer than 20 minutes each. They observed Domingo Diaz at this location.
3809 Miller Avenue
Another positive trash pull yielded three small plastic bags containing used paper towels and condoms. Nearly 50 potential male customers entered the front door and stayed no longer than 20 minutes each. They witnessed a doorman, 41-year-old Bartolo Mazariegos-Chay at this location, along with a car registered under Diaz’s name.
505 Independence Road
Officers report that this address seems to be the home of the bosses and/or the doorman. Correspondence found in the trash linked this location to the Belvedere Road home.
Gathering Evidence of Prostitution
In May, officers interviewed a man entering the first home on Belvedere Road. The man informed officers that he had been visiting the prostitution houses for years, and confirmed the other two locations as brothels.
Later, four search warrants were served at all three locations and another apartment on Pilgrim Road. That day, police arrested the doorman. The doorman told officers he met a man named “Jaime” who gave him a job watching the 3809 Miller Avenue location. The man said he got paid $50 per day to open the door for people coming to visit the women. The man he identified turned out to be Diaz.
Police also spoke to a woman from Puerto Rico who told officers she travels to West Palm Beach to work as a prostitute, and that Diaz approached her at a nightclub in January. She said she made several thousand dollars a week working for him on Miller Avenue.
Prostitution Charges in West Palm Beach
Officers believe Diaz was in charge of all operations of the prostitution ring. Diaz faces several prostitution charges, including:
- Deriving support from the proceeds of prostitution
- Soliciting another to commit prostitution
- Maintaining a house of prostitution
Bartolo Mazariegos-Chay faces charges of deriving support from the proceeds of prostitution and maintaining a house of prostitution. Two other men were also charged.
Constructive Defense Against Prostitution Charges in South Florida
Both prostitutes and ringleaders often get caught running brothels in West Palm Beach. They may both face charges related to prostitution and other serious crimes. Unfortunately, prostitutes are usually victims of human and sex trafficking, a much more severe offense.
The State of Florida is tough on human and sex trafficking. Officers receive a substantial amount of resources to fight trafficking and prostitution. If you face charges in connection to prostitution in West Palm Beach, do not hesitate to seek strong legal guidance from The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel. We have over 30 years of experience protecting the rights of the criminally accused of Palm Beach County. Call 561-622-5575 or email us.