At the culmination of a six-month investigation into a reported brothel, the San Rafael Police Department arrested two Bay Area men on prostitution charges on Thursday. Lieutenant Dan Fink issued a press release detailing the investigation and the subsequent arrests.
In October 2013, SRPD learned of concerns that there was an organized brothel operating out of the Canal Neighborhood in San Rafael. SRPD asked for assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Marin County Probation Department in tracking down the offenders.
Through the course of the investigation, officers identified Erik Martinez Cosme, 33, of Napa, and Delmar Tanchez, 31, of San Rafael, as suspects. SRPD believes that Cosme and Tanchez were engaged in human trafficking, routinely taking advantage of women who had recently immigrated to the area from Central American nations. According to the press release, Cosme moved at least two new women—always of Hispanic descent—to or from one of his two prostitution operations each week.
Cosme had a residential property in San Rafael’s Canal Neighborhood that he operated as a brothel. The operation changed location several times but was located in an apartment at 260 Canal Street when officers arrested Cosme and Tanchez. Cosme also operated another brothel out of his personal residence in Napa.
Cosme and Tanchez have been booked at Marin County Jail on charges of pimping, pandering, and keeping a house for prostitution.
When officers served search warrants at both brothels on Thursday, they encountered two women in the Canal Street apartment. SRPD considers these women to be human trafficking victims—officers put them in touch with the Center for Domestic Peace and released them. They have not been charged with any crimes at this time.
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