Three women formerly employed at the now defunct Trucker’s Spa, ten miles west of Tucumcari, were each given six months probation in Quay County Magistrate Court Wednesday.
Jane Yoh, Myung Choi and Woo S. Yoo each had entered pleas of no contest to charges of prostitution.
If any of the women violate their probation they will face six months jail time. Undercover agents from the Albuquerque Vice Squad, New Mexico State Police and the New Mexico Department of Transportation began investigating Trucker’s Spa in July of 2003. Yoh, Choi and Yoo were arrested on prostitution charges in September of 2003. The three women, who now reside in California, were not present in Magistrate Court Wednesday. Chief Deputy District Attorney, Donald Schutte, said it was not necessary for the women to be present.
“I did not feel it was necessary to bring the women here from California because the prostitution charges were petty misdemeanor charges,” said Schutte. “I agreed to their probation due to their ages. They were each around fifty years old, and they did not have any prior convictions that we were aware of.” In addition to their probated sentences, each woman must also donate $100 to Crimestoppers as part of their plea agreements.
Hearings for the women had been scheduled and rescheduled a number of times prior to Wednesday’s hearing. A Korean interpreter drove from Albuquerque Wednesday, and again found that his services were not needed. During Wednesday’s hearing, Judge Edwin Bruhn expressed displeasure that the cases had gone on so long and that the interpreter had been summoned to Tucumcari a number of times without his services being needed.
Schutte responded that there were logistical problems involved because the undercover agents from the Albuquerque Vice Squad could often not be reached by attorneys because of the nature of the agents’ undercover work.
There is still unfinished legal business in the aftermath of the Trucker’s Spa closing. Young K. Carpinello, the former owner of the spa just off Interstate-40, still faces charges of promotion of prostitution and accepting the earnings of prostitutes. Carpinello’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 14, although Magistrate Court officials cautioned that the hearing could still be moved to a later date.