UPDATE:Women, cars busted in large Phnx prostitution ringPosted: Updated:
UPDATE: Additional arrests have been made in the case.
Another key player in the organization was taken in custody Wednesday night.
Charges against Sean Carter, 39, could include conspiracy to control an illegal enterprise; illegal control of an enterprise; first degree money laundering; operating a house of prostitution; employee at a house of prostitution; pandering; receiving the earnings of a prostitute; use of a wire or electronic communication; prostitution.
Five other escorts were taken into custody. Their charges include illegal participation of an enterprise, second degree money laundering and employee at a house of prostitution.
ORIGINAL: PHOENIX - "Desert Divas", "Escorts in Action" and "AZ Confidential" are just a few of the titles police say were used to lure men into a Valley prostitution ring.
Detectives raided properties across the Valley, including one lavish home in Paradise Valley.
At that home they found enough information to book at least 19 people into the Fourth Avenue Jail for their alleged involvement in what Phoenix police describe as the biggest prostitution investigation in Arizona history.
Lt. Schemers said it may take months to contact every name in the ledger that was discovered. County Attorney Andrew Thomas said if warranted, every john will be prosecuted.
This prostitution ring was allegedly operated in New Mexico and for a brief time in Pennsylvania.
Detectives describe this as an upscale operation catering to mostly out of town visitors.
Late this afternoon police arrested Dr. Ross Levatar at the East Valley Hospital where he worked. Dr. Levatar is reportedly a client and helped run operations.
The following is a release from the Phoenix Police Department:
In August, 2007, the Phoenix Police Department received information of an organization involved in prostitution.It was soon determined that the umbrella organization run by Paul Nichta, called "Night Entertainment Partners", was providing prostitutes through numerous web sites with titles such as "Desert Divas", "Az Confidential", "Hips Tours", and "Escorts in Action".
This organization contains over 100 people, mostly prostitutes, but many in management roles.This organization served hundreds of customers, or "johns".The organization filmed pornographic acts with the prostitutes which were available for viewing through the internet.Clients ordered service through their various internet web sites.
The investigation has connections to Philadelphia and Albuquerque, New Mexico.Philadelphia Police Department Vice detectives arrested one suspect in this case.Albuquerque Police Department Vice Unit detectives conducted a search warrant on the organization's office ("Desert Divas New Mexico") in Albuquerque yesterday, arresting several suspects.However, the vast majority of the organization's activities were conducted right here in the valley.
The Phoenix Police Department worked this investigation in conjunction with the Maricopa County Attorney's Office.We were assisted by the Scottsdale Police Department, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, the Mesa Police Department, the Philadelphia Police Department's Vice Unit, and the Albuquerque Police Department's Vice unit.
The first arrest phase of the investigation began yesterday and is continuing today.Nine search warrants were conducted throughout the valley.Nine of the top members of the organization were arrested and are listed below.Three residences were seized.A least eight vehicles and one motorcycle were seized.Financial seizures were made.6 rifles, 12 handguns, and 2 silencers were seized at Mr. Nichta's Paradise Valley residence. Some of the prostitutes have also been arrested.More arrests are expected throughout the day today and in the weeks ahead.
The Phoenix Police Department will continue the investigation into this organization.Any future identified suspects will be submitted by Phoenix Police Department investigator to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office on all suspects, whether they are involved as organizers, prostitutes, or customers.No identified suspects will be exempt from investigation in this case.