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Owner of raided El Paso strip club accused of human trafficking

Mario Josue Escajeda, charged with promoting prostitution and gun violations.
Mario Josue Escajeda, charged with promoting prostitution and gun violations.

UPDATE, June 22: State officials reveled new details Tuesday about last week's raid of a far east El Paso strip club, accusing the owner of being a human trafficker and saying four victims were rescued.

In addition to aggravated promotion of prostitution and sale of alcohol without a permit or license., officials said Outskirts Gentlemen’s Club owner Mario Josue Escajeda will also faces charges of unlawfully carrying weapons.

Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission agents indicated Escajeda's arrest actually took place shortly before the raid on his strip club when he was caught offering to supply women for sex in exchange for money during a law enforcement sting operation at a nearby hotel.

"Escajeda arrived at the El Paso hotel with four women and was arrested. He was carrying two concealed handguns and a stash of cash. The four women, whose ages range from 19 to 39, were interviewed by TABC’s victim’s services coordinator and provided assistance," the TABC said in a statement.

The agency described its investigation into Escajeda's alleged human trafficking activities as on-going and urged other victims to come forward by contacting the TABC Victims Services Office at 713-494-5869.

ORIGINAL REPORT, June 17: EL PASO Texas -- A strip club in far east El Paso County has been shut down and its owner arrested following a raid by law enforcement agencies that turned up evidence of prostitution and drug dealing, as well as an unlicensed bar operating inside, authorities said Thursday.

Owner Mario Josue Escajeda was taken into custody by state troopers and sheriff's deputies during the raid at Outskirts Gentlemen’s Club, located at 1491 Darrington Road. He faces multiple charges that include aggravated promotion of prostitution, as well as sale of alcohol without a permit or license.

Ironically, Outskirts was operating in the same building that previously housed another strip club shut down by authorities early last year. A February 2020 raid of Darlington Hideaway, which had operated for a number of years at that location, turned up illicit drugs and found it too was serving alcohol without a license.

El Paso County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal said Escajeda had been illegally operating the replacement strip club, which also goes by the name “The Outskirts Alphas Club,” for at least the past nine months without a liquor license.

Bernal indicated she would be seeking a court order to permanently close the troubled strip club, citing the months of lawlessness there. "Criminal activity occurs habitually at the location, including the sale and use of narcotics and prostitution," she said.

In addition to Escajeda, the county's lawsuit seeking to permanently close the strip club business also names its manager Isaac Angel Salazar and the owner of the building, Panorama Investments LLC, as defendants.

A judge has scheduled a June 24 hearing on the county's request for an injunction.

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