Rockville Bust Offers View of Prostitution in 21st Century, Police Say
Police: Women advertised services online and worked from a Shady Grove Road hotel.
A stakeout of a Rockville hotel led to charges earlier this month against three women whom police say were selling sex using online ads, according to a city police spokesperson.
The women, all from out-of-state, were arrested between 7 p.m. Jan. 15 and 10:21 p.m. Jan. 16, Rockville city police reported this week.
Angela Maria Alvarez, 38, of Florida; Adriana Santiago, 39 of Florida; and Natalia Sklias-Bruyer, 25, of California are charged with prostitution, Rockville city police Maj. Michael England said. (Sklias-Bruyer is listed in online court records as Kristen Skias-Bruyere.)
City police launched the investigation after a manager of the Hilton Garden Inn, 14975 Shady Grove Road, called police about 4 p.m. Jan. 15, England said.
England, reading from a police report, said the women had rented two rooms at the hotel and were working together. There is no mention in the report that they were working for someone else, he said.
When police searched the rooms they found capsules containing a white powder in plastic bags and counterfeit currency, England said. The powder is being analyzed and the currency was turned over to the U.S. Secret Service, he said. Additional charges could be brought against the women, he said.
Prostitution has moved off the street and on to the Internet, England said.
“In the electronic age, there’s different venues where [prostitutes] can advertise, if you will,” he said. “They don’t need a brick and mortar site such as a massage parlor.”
More than a decade ago, Montgomery County focused on massage parlors that were fronts for prostitution and other illegal business activity. In 2001, in an effort to weed out the illegal operations, the County Council passed emergency legislation requiring massage parlor employees to be licensed by the state or county, The Gazette reported.
Within two years, a police crackdown had led to “scores of citations” and the closure of 20 parlors, The Gazette reported.
Law enforcement has targeted similar operations in recent years, including human trafficking and prostitution charges brought in Jan. 2012 against the owners of four Rockville spas that police said were operating as brothels.
A report in The Gazette detailed the investigation that led to those charges. Detectives apprehended men leaving the spas and asked what services they bought. The men who cooperated were not identified or charged “because detectives intend to use them as witnesses against the establishments,” a county police detective told The Gazette.
Similar tactics could be at work in the latest Rockville cases. One man questioned by police while leaving one of the hotel rooms under surveillance was charged with marijuana possession, England said. Otherwise, none of the men who told police they had received sex were charged with a crime, he said.
One man told police he was responding to an ad in the adult services section of Backpage.com, England said. The ads would include a number to call to arrange an appointment, he said.
County detectives said a man found guilty Jan. 9 of prostitution and human trafficking used the same online classified site to advertise a prostitution ring he ran from a hotel on Rockville Pike, NBC Washington reported.
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