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Sheriff detained in Las Vegas brothel raid

 

San Mateo County Sheriff Greg Munks Tuesday afternoon apologized for his "lack of judgment" following his and Undersheriff Carlos Bolanos' brief detainment at a Las Vegas brothel Saturday night during a prostitution sting by local and federal authorities.

Munks, who was sworn in as sheriff of San Mateo County on Jan. 8, read a brief statement but declined to take questions.

"I believed I was going to a legitimate business," Munks said. "It was not," he said.

Munks said he and Bolanos had been in Las Vegas over the weekend to participate in a law enforcement run, the Baker to Vegas Relay.

During a series of raids Saturday night and early Sunday dubbed "Operation Dollhouse," Munks and Bolanos were detained but were not among the six people -- five men and one woman -- arrested by police at a brothel about two miles west of Las Vegas strip, Las Vegas police spokesman Bill Cassell said this afternoon.

The arrests at the brothel where Munks and Bolanos were found took place at about 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Cassell said. Approximately 3,500 Ecstasy tabs and about $25,000 in cash was seized at the brothel, Cassell added.

Cassell said officers did come into contact with both Munks and Bolanos inside one of the residences at the brothel. "All of the customers were simply identified and released," Cassell said.

"I want to apologize to my family, the sheriff's office and its fine men and women, and to the people of San Mateo County for my lack of judgment and the undue attention and embarrassment this incident has caused," Munks stated.

Munks said that he and Bolanos fully cooperated with the investigation, though he noted that Bolanos "was outside when the authorities arrived."

"I would not, nor did I, break any laws," Munks said. "Neither did the Undersheriff."

Cassell stressed that Munks and Bolanos "received no special treatment because of their status in law enforcement."

No charges have been filed against Munks or Bolanos.

Cassell declined to specify the exact location of the brothel where Munks and Bolanos were found, but said it is located two miles west of the strip in a mixed residential and light-industrial area in the south-central part of the city, according to Cassell.

The raid was part of a series of raids at nine Las Vegas brothels Saturday night and early Sunday morning, according to Cassell.

The operation capped a two-year investigation conducted by Las Vegas police, the FBI, the IRS criminal investigation division and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Bureau, Cassell said.

Over the weekend, a total of seven people were arrested on prostitution and drug-related charges and 25 prostitutes were taken into custody, Cassell said. An ongoing investigation will attempt to determine whether any of those arrested were involved in illegal human trafficking, he added.

According to Cassell, additional suspects are still being sought by authorities on federal prostitution charges.

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