Cops use undercover sting to arrest women offering in-home salon services, punishable by 180 days in jail

Two Texas women were arrested after police launched an undercover operation following a tip that they were violating stay-at-home orders instituted during the coronavirus pandemic.

The town of Laredo apparently is spending valuable police resources in tracking violators in sting operations and enforcing orders against residents like the women who were allegedly offering salon services in their homes.


(Source: KGNS-TV)

Undercover officers from the Laredo Police Department set up appointments with the women in two separate incidents following a tip sent in via the department’s mobile app which apparently encourages anonymous tattling amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to KGNS-TV.

Laredo police who were part of the COVID-19 task force enforcement team arrested Ana Isabel Castro-Garcia for allegedly setting up a manicure appointment with one undercover officer. The 31-year-old was charged with “Violation of Emergency Management Plan C/B,” according to KGNS-TV, and transported to the Webb County Jail where she was held on a $500 bond.

Brenda Stephany Mata was also set up by an undercover officer and allegedly agreed to provide an eyelash service inside her home. The 20-yer-old, who was also taken to the Webb County Jail was charged with the same violation, which carries a punishment of up to 180 days in jail, a $2,000 fine or both, The Laredo Times reported.

“Both of the violators independently solicited customers via social media. On both cases, an undercover officer working on the COVID-19 task force enforcement detail made contact with each solicitor to set up an appointment for a cosmetic, beauty service that is prohibited under the emergency ordinance,” Laredo Police said in a statement.

The arrests came just days after Dallas salon owner Shelley Luther not only refused to close her business, tearing up a cease-and-desist citation she received for reopening her salon against the Texas stay-at-home orders.

“I can’t afford to not stay open, and my stylists can’t afford to stop working anymore,” Luther said. “We’re about to lose everything and haven’t gotten any help, so I had to make a decision.”

The Laredo arrests also followed a controversial decision by Beaumont Mayor Becky Ames who violated her own lockdown rules to get her nails done at a local salon.

A photograph showing Ames at a nail shop getting the beauty service eventually led to an apology after she initially declared she had done nothing wrong.

“I should never have entered the salon last Tuesday. I did not intend to take personal privilege while asking others to sacrifice and for that I am truly remorseful,” she wrote in a statement.

Gov. Gregg Abbott announced the beginning of the state’s reopening on Friday as retail businesses were allowed to provide services for pick-up only.

Twitter users slammed the Laredo arrests, calling out the violation of rights, the double standards applied and the obvious misuse of law enforcement resources in setting up covert operations to nab beauticians for offering services in their own homes.

 

 

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Frieda Powers

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