Sheriff’s Office alleges possible immigration violations at Mound House brothels

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Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office is alleging it has found possible immigration violations during a series of work card compliance checks at three brothels in Mound House.

LCSO, with the assistance of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, conducted a series of brothel work card compliance checks of prostitutes on Oct. 3 at the Bunny Ranch, Kit Kat Ranch, and the Love Ranch, and says it found some who obtained work cards contrary to Lyon County Code and in possible violation of United States immigration law.

All three brothels are run by Dennis Hof, who is a candidate for the state legislature.

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The sheriff’s office said the compliance checks stem from a four-month long internal investigation during which Sheriff Office prostitute registration procedures were found inadequate, a practice spanning multiple decades. Those practices include U.S. immigration law violations, foreign country human trafficking indicators, fraudulent statements, issuance of work cards prior to completing criminal history background checks, and inability to validate out-of-state and U.S. and other foreign national documents to determine identity.

LCSO said corrective procedures are being developed and implemented to better align with Lyon County Code as it relates to work card registration.

In accordance with Lyon County Code, all brothel employees are required to register for a work card specific to the brothel where they are employed. The Sheriff’s Office is required by code to conduct periodic inspections to ensure compliance of brothel employee and prostitute registration. In addition, these compliance checks ensure the medical certifications for the prostitutes are up-to-date.

“The discovery of U.S. immigration law violations in our legal brothel system is extremely alarming,” Sheriff Al McNeil said. “The ability to coerce, exploit and traffic non-U.S. citizens into Lyon County by foreign criminal enterprises is going to be difficult to detect and deter by our limited capabilities and resources of foreign born applicants, which has caused us to develop better working partnerships with federal agencies to combat human trafficking efforts.”

McNeil said members of the U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement have been helping LCSO to better understand the requirements and procedures for processing foreign born applicants.

“This is the first time we applied a task force of multiple agencies for a work card compliance check,” McNeil said. “We already use this approach quite successfully to conduct compliance checks in other law enforcement areas, and we will give serious consideration to using this approach with future brothel compliance checks.”

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