McAllen motel manager accused of human trafficking

McALLEN — A local motel manager has been arrested on a continuous human trafficking charge following prostitution stings at La Casita Motel, a longtime site of prostitution in the city.

McAllen police began investigating “numerous complaints” about the McAllen motel, located at 120 S. Fourth St., last summer, according to a probable cause affidavit tied to the April 19 arrest of Lucila “Lucy” Saucedo, 49.

Women previously arrested for prostitution at the motel told investigators Saucedo charged them $15 an hour to rent a room “to conduct business” there, the complaint stated.

Saucedo was arrested last July on engaging in organized criminal activity and promoting prostitution charges, and women told investigators that she has allegedly “changed the way the prostitutes are allowed to operate at the motel” to attract less attention. These alleged changes include not letting the women remain in the rooms for the full hour they paid for if their customers have left, and making customers pay for the room at the front office.

“It is (the investigator’s) belief that Saucedo is fully aware of the trafficking since she has made attempts to take preventative measures with the females to avoid detection by law enforcement,” the complaint stated.

Saucedo remained in county jail Tuesday on a $300,000 cash bond and could not be reached for comment. Continuous trafficking of persons is a first-degree felony charge punishable by a minimum 25 years in prison.

McAllen police have conducted multiple prostitution stings at the motel over the years, according to Monitor archives.