PHILIPSBURG–Officers of the Kingdom Detective Cooperation Team RST, assisted by members of the St. Maarten Police Force KPSM, the Dutch Marechaussees and the National Detective Agency raided brothels El Capitan and Petit Chateau on Tuesday, including secondary offices and the home of the owner Etienne “Tochi” Meyers.
Meyers and Le Petit Chateau manager Louella Rog (50), who was number 22 on the United St. Maarten Party (US Party) list in this year’s parliamentary election, were arrested by officers along with El Capitan manager D.F. (54) and assistant to management R.L.R. (47).
The code name of the investigation is Pompei and it is headed by RST, according to Prosecutor’s Office spokesman Gino Bernadina. The searches, led by four Prosecutors and carried out in the presence of an Investigating Judge, started at 5:00am and continued throughout Tuesday.
A total of 29 women from the Dominican Republic and Colombia were present. The majority did not have valid permits. They will be handed over to the Immigration authorities to be deported.
The suspects were arrested in connection with illegal possession of firearms, human trafficking (exploitation), illegal employment and human smuggling, according to Bernadina.
Documents, a firearm and digital data carriers were confiscated. In connection with efforts to recover proceeds from crime, five cars, two boats, four trucks, one backhoe, watches and cash were confiscated. “After all, crime does not pay,” the Prosecutor’s Office stated in its press release.
Chief Prosecutor Ton Maan asked Minister of Justice Edson Kirindongo to consider closing the brothels by suspending their business licences. However, this is unlikely as the criminal investigation is still ongoing. The Prosecutor had requested suspension of Casa Blanca’s licence during that investigation, but this request was denied by the Judge as the case was still being investigated at the time.
The Prosecutor, Judge of Instruction, Immigration, police, Royal Marechaussees and Human Trafficking team raided Hypnotic adult entertainment club on Monday, October 24, and arrested the owner of the club. During the search of the club, 27 women were found to have no work permits and were handed over to Immigration to begin the deportation process. The owner was eventually released from pre-trial detention, but the case is still ongoing.
The Prosecutor’s Office has been cracking down on brothels in St. Maarten since last year, when authorities raided and arrested top management at Casa Blanca. Brothels on the island have been in discussions and court battles with Government to obtain the necessary work permits for their workers. Owners, while waiting for the permits, have been forced to operate their businesses without having the required documents for the women who work at the brothels.