Demolition has started on the charred remains of a Jamestown-area strip club that was raided in March for alleged drug and sex crimes.
Heavy equipment Monday started tearing into Rosalinda's Gentlemen's Club and the motel on the same property, the Tuolumne County Sheriff's Office reported. They had long been a prominent sight on Highway 108 at O'Byrnes Ferry Road.
The demolition was delayed slightly because several transients were found sleeping inside, a Facebook post said. The cleanup is expected to last through the week.
"Many Tuolumne County residents are relieved that the eyesore seen by highway travelers coming into Tuolumne County will now be a thing of the past," the post said.
The March 1 raid followed a months-long undercover investigation into reports of prostitution, drug sales, alcohol violations and other crimes, the Sheriff's Office reported at the time. A spokeswoman said Rosalinda's had generated almost 200 calls for service over five years. They included the stabbing of one dancer by another in the leg, a rape, other assaults and building code violations.
The Tuolumne Narcotics Team raided the property with help from other local and state agencies. The owner, 78-year-old Rosalinda Aponte Sanmartin, was arrested along with nine other people.
The cause of the March 13 fire remains unknown. Investigators said it started in the early morning in the area of the motel, which was engulfed in flames when Cal Fire arrived. The blaze did lesser damage to the strip club, but the entire property had been condemned earlier.