HIALEAH, Fla. – Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez said action had been taken after a Local 10 News investigation in February into illegal prostitution taking place in the city. But when Local 10 News investigative reporter Jeff Weinsier took hidden cameras out again, it appeared not much had changed.
Local 10 News went to three different locations, and an undercover producer was solicited for sex every time.
"Your job is to sensationalize the story and my job is to find solutions," Hernandez told Weinsier.
In February, hidden cameras caught rampant illegal prostitution taking place at several locations in Hialeah, from stores in shopping centers to office buildings.
Local 10 News was contacted by citizens who said they called police to report all the illegal activity, but nothing happened.
"The girls in my office called Hialeah (police) on numerous occasions," business owner Eddie Martinez said.
But, Martinez said, nothing was ever done.
Martinez said he had to move his office out of a building at 1140 W. 50th St. because of the prostitution going on down the hall.
John Rode, a former Hialeah police officer turned private detective, said he contacted Hialeah police several times and provided locations of the illegal activity, but nothing was done.
Rode said police know about the prostitution.
When Local 10 News investigated at a storefront located at 360 W. 49th St., an unidentified woman took a producer into a small room and put on a peep show. She then told the producer that she would have sexual intercourse with him for $300.
Police were at that location after the first Local 10 News investigation on prostitution and arrested a worker for soliciting sex.
Inside the North Hialeah Shopping Plaza, a business advertises professional beauty services. However, a hidden camera carried by a Local 10 News producer showed a woman jumping up and down in her tank top.
The woman then pulled her shirt down for a peep and said the producer needed to show her money for the full experience.
Police said an investigation had been launched three months ago, but the activity is still happening.
When an inquiry about the subject was made with the Hialeah Police Department, Local 10 News received an email reply that said, "The police chief will not be making a statement at this time."
"Arrests were made," Hernandez said when asked about the prostitution in the city.
Police records show that after the first story ran about the illegal activity, several arrests were made for practicing massage and health care without a license. There was also one arrest in February for soliciting sex.
In April, four people were arrested in a Hialeah townhouse on charges of prostitution, human trafficking and racketeering.
But it appears police have not done an undercover sting that would force many of these places to close.
"This is not a Hialeah problem," Hernandez said. "This is a county, state problem, and, again, when we get information, we act on it. I'm not into sensationalism."
Local 10 News investigated the situation in Hialeah due to complaints by residents and business owners, who said the police hadn't addressed their concerns.
"Any time we get information, on any crime, we take action," Hernandez said. "Again, we are not into TV and sensationalizing stories. We are into facts."