Joseph VanWert, 65, and Randy Lambach, 45, of Berkshire County, were arrested and held on human trafficking charges ahead of a hearing later this month, according to Pittsfield Lt. Michael Maddalena.
Police, who received reports of increased prostitution in Pittsfield earlier this year, said Lambach sought out women with “severe” drug addictions and advertised their services on social media.
Lambach, who allegedly ran the prostitution ring for several years, would set up meetings and rates with prospective “johns”, police said.
VanWert would allow some of the meetings to take place in his third-floor apartment at the facility in exchange for drugs and cash, according to the Berkshire Eagle.
Lambach also worked as a chauffeur, transporting the women to and from specific locations and waiting until they were done, police said. He crossed state lines on at least one occasion, one of the prostitutes said.
Lambach would take a significant cut of the women’s money — or pay them in heroin, cocaine or prescription drugs in lieu of cash, Maddalena said.
Some of the women he recruited were formerly his foster children. A witness, whom Lambach reportedly approached with photos of the prostitutes, said the victims looked to be as young as 15.
Police, who had been investigating for several months, arrested VanWert and Lambach last week.
Lambach pleaded not guilty to four counts of human trafficking, while VanWert pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit human trafficking, deriving support from prostitution, maintaining a house of prostitution and sexual conduct for a fee