Club 907, like similar "hostess club" establishments, is regulated by the Los Angeles Police Commission. Patrons pay women who work at the clubs for time and companionship that includes talking, buying non-alcoholic drinks or dancing. The club charges $30 per hour, with discounts on certain days of the week.
The Police Commission permit prohibits hostess clubs from serving alcohol and does not allow nudity or other adult entertainment. But the LAPD said that during a four-month investigation their officers witnessed or found evidence of prostitution, lewd conduct, gambling and the use of counterfeit identification.
Police said that on the day of the arrests, they found more than 400 people inside the 907 Club, which had a maximum capacity of 250 patrons.
Officers said they found dozens of female dancers employed by the club with false identification for purposes of employment and found evidence that most were engaging in prostitution. Some 88 people were arrested -- 81 of them women. Only three were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit prostitution: a club manager, and two women who were brought in to dance in bikinis and were allowed to be groped by patrons, police said.
Of the others, 59 were arrested on suspicion of possession of fraudulent California identification, 18 for willfully obtaining personal information, four for gambling violations, two for misdemeanor warrants, one for interfering with police operations and one for violating the club's conditional use permits.
A 17-year-old girl who had been reported missing was found inside and was also arrested on suspicion of possessing false identification. Police also seized two bags of cocaine, over $100,000 in cash, condoms, and liquor.
A 29-year-old club worker who was out on bail Wednesday after her arrest on suspicion of possessing fraudulent identification said that while the women were detained inside the club, officers asked those with “good ID” to step forward and separated them from the others. She believed that officers were trying to determine the workers' immigration status.
The worker, who asked that her name not be used, said that she obtained false documents at the request of club management, who would direct workers to go to MacArthur Park to get identification.
LAPD officials said that during the operation, officers separated those who were patrons from those determined to be employees and management of the club. The patrons were released. The employees and management were taken to the LAPD’s Central Area station.
Police said the detainees were separated because those possessing fraudulent identification had committed a crime and would be arrested. They said it had nothing to do with immigration.
Those who had fraudulent or no identification were subject to questioning by the LAPD and agents with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
ICE agents were already conducting their own investigation into the potential federal violations involving the creation and use of fraudulent identifications to gain employment status, the LAPD said.
Immigration officials later determined that 75 of the arrestees were in the country illegally. ICE spokeswoman Lori Haley said Wednesday that none of them were in ICE custody.