A strip club west of Jamestown that was raided March 1, resulting in 10 arrests, was damaged by fire that destroyed its adjacent motel Tuesday morning.
The Tuolumne County Sheriff's Office posted on Facebook that just before 3:30 a.m., it got a call from a California Highway Patrol officer that he was told Rosalinda’s Gentleman’s Club was on fire and he was on his way to confirm the report.
When sheriff's deputies arrived at the scene, CalFire units already were at work. The motel was fully engulfed in flames, the Sheriff's Office said, and the flames spread to the club but were knocked down.
The motel is a total loss, and there was minor damage to the club area, said Matthew Gilbert, a battalion chief with the CalFire Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit. He said the cause remains under investigation.
The first reports to CalFire apparently were made minutes after 3 a.m. By the 7 o'clock hour, the fire was a hot topic on the Tuolumne County Incident Feed page on Facebook, with scores of comments and 165 shares.
One woman posted of seeing people loading up a blue car at the club Monday night.
The 10 arrests on the first of the month came after a search of the club, on Highway 108 at O'Byrnes Ferry Road, for evidence of drug, sex and other crimes. The search was conducted by the Tuolumne Narcotics Team with help from other local and state agencies.
The owner, Rosalinda Aponte Sanmartin, was not at the establishment and is facing felony charges of maintaining and operating a drug house. Her daughter, Marlinda Beth Russo, arrived at the club as the search was taking place and was arrested.
The arrests were a result of an undercover investigation over several months. A news release said "narcotics were purchased on multiple occasions and prostitution was solicited from at least one exotic dancer employed by the club." Detectives also observed "nightly" violations of alcohol rules.
We'll have more on the fire as information is available.