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Calif. prostitution raids yield cars, cash & arrests

By Henry K. Lee
The San Francisco Chronicle

SAN LORENZO, Calif. — Alameda County sheriff's investigators raided suspected houses of prostitution and "flipped" one of them — taking over the business to solicit customers - during a multicity operation that resulted in 32 arrests, authorities said today.

Sheriff's deputies searched eight businesses and five homes in Castro Valley, Hayward, San Leandro and Fremont on Thursday, sheriff's Sgt. J.D. Nelson said.

Investigators took over one business on Lewelling Boulevard in San Lorenzo and arrested nine men. "We raided it and then we just assumed the operation," Nelson said.

Authorities seized $50,000 in cash, froze another $200,000 in assets and seized 15 cars, of which seven of them were "high-end luxury vehicles used to help run these businesses," Nelson said.

No weapons were seized, but one customer came into one business with an ounce of methamphetamine, Nelson said.

The investigation is continuing. "We are actively following the money trail on this, because these businesses, they make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year and pay no taxes," Nelson said.

Copyright 2008 San Francisco Chronicle

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