DAVIE, Fla. – Police in Davie arrested a man who detectives said was working as an unlicensed dentist and molested a female patient.
Police served a search warrant to John Collazos, 47, at a warehouse in the 5000 block of S. State Road 7 on Wednesday morning.
A photo provided by Davie police showed dental equipment inside the office, which had professional equipment, medicine, wood floors, and a flat screen TV.
"It appears this guy has been doing it a while," said Davie Police Capt. Dale Engle.
The investigation by Davie police, code named "Operation Tooth Fairy," began in July after a female patient came forward and said Collazos touched her inappropriately during a dental procedure.
"Very important. I mean, obviously, we wouldn't have the case today that we have to get this guy out of business if she hadn't come forward," said Engle. "And, it must have taken a lot on her part, because she has questionable immigration status, to come forward."
According to police, Collazos catered to undocumented immigrants. The SWAT team assisted in the arrest because detectives learned the Colombian native had his office under surveillance and employed a guard at the door to let patients inside.
"He was preying on people, for lack of a better term, preying on people whose immigration status may have been questionable and no other place to go," said Engle.
Neighboring business owners said Collazos moved in about six months ago and didn't go out of his way to hide his business.
"Did you know he was a dentist?" Local 10's Roger Lohse asked Carlos Mier, who works a few doors down from the bogus dental office.
"Yes," replied Mier, who said he frequently saw Collazos outside wearing a sterile mask.
Mier said he knew Collazos didn't have a license but was still surprised at the show of force by police -- until he learned Collazos was accused of groping his clients.
"I don't think what he did was so, so bad, but if he was doing other things, that's a problem," said Mier.
Collazos was expected to face several charges, including practicing without a license and simple battery.
Police in Hollywood also had a case against Collazos from 2010, but he fled before they could charge him.
Last week, a man, his wife and daughter were charged with running an unlicensed dentistry clinic in Miami.