Delaware State Police officers arrested two women on Sunday, March 19, at 214 Twin Cedars Apartments near Frankford, in relation to a regional prostitution ring.
Elizabeth G. Cabrera, 25, of Puebla, Mexico and Silvia L. Martinez, 27, of Vera Cruz, Mexico — who officers charged with one count of prostitution each — were two of 13 people arrested statewide on charges related to prostitution. Everyone arrested and charged was in the country illegally — Martinez has already been deported once — and is being held while U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement continues its investigation, according to Cpl. Jeffery C. Oldham, Delaware State Police public information officer.
The arrests are the result of a State Police investigation, dating back to February of 2005, into Moises Dominguez-Cruz, 53, and Juan C. Dominguez-Piedra, 26. The father-son tandem, which has been under police surveillance since that time, was allegedly running the illegal prostitution ring from a home outside of Wilmington, Cpl. Oldham said.
“These two guys were running a prostitution business, transporting prostitutes from New York to Delaware,” Oldham said.
Oldham explained that the two would allegedly pick the women up in New York and bring them to at least four different houses in Delaware that promoted prostitution. Those arrested on Sunday were charged with crimes ranging from patronizing prostitution to racketeering. When officers entered the home outside of Wilmington — a rendezvous spot for the ring according to the report — they arrested Dominguez-Cruz and Dominguez-Piedra and seized more than $9,000 in cash and documents pertaining to the ring.
Both men are accused of “directly and indirectly controlling the transportation of female prostitutes” and were charged with organized crime, racketeering, promoting prostitution and criminal nuisance. Police also charged Dominguez-Cruz, the father, with forgery and conspiracy.
Officers arrested the nine others at a Seaford home. A Bridgeville home, which had been raided last May, was also identified in the investigation as a part of the ring, Oldham said.
Oldham noted that this investigation was the first of its kind in downstate Delaware. “They’ve had similar operations in New Castle County,” he said, allowing that one was as recent as last fall but the two don’t appear to be connected.
State Police documents pertaining to the investigation, and lease and other documents found at the Wilmington-area home, first mention the Frankford apartment in October of last year, Oldham said.
Surveillance also has the two alleged leaders of ring visiting the apartment as recently as March 6, he added, saying that the two allegedly moved the prostitutes around to various locations.
“They could only arrest two people,” Cpl. Oldham said of the Frankford apartment. “I don’t know if they went there when it was a slow time or what.”
The Seaford Police Department, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Department of Labor, Delaware Division of Revenue, Georgetown Police Department, Felton Police Department, Laurel Police Department and the Delaware Department of Correction assisted the Delaware State Police Special Investigations Unit in the investigation.
The Customs investigation is ongoing, Oldham said. New Jersey police officers arrested 16 others on Sunday in that state in relation to the Delaware ring, according to the report.