Waco – Deputies arrested a couple accused of engaging in organized criminal activity and human trafficking in a Department of Homeland Security sting operation at a Castle Heights professional building that has for decades been used for court-ordered behavior modification programs.

A veteran deputy of the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office faced arrest among 150 men charged with b-grade misdemeanor prostitution charges. Steven Johnson, a distant cousin of Sheriff Parnell McNamara resigned following his arrest. He has lately been working a security detail at the Courthouse. Texas Commission on Law Enforcement records show he resigned from his position as a Deputy.

The building, which belongs to Texas Star Properties located at 2509 and 2505 Washington Ave., has served as a group therapy and counseling center for the Freeman Center and another addiction care provider.

Treatment for addiction to alcohol, illicit drugs, sex practices such as engaging in prostitution, wife beating, theft by worthless check and credit card abuse have long been treated on the premises.

Det. Joseph Scaramucci, who in his court papers now identifies himself as a Human Trafficking Task Force member seconded to the DHS, said in his affidavit of probable cause that three women brought from China to serve under the supervision of Chun Yang Zhang, 47, who gave an Austin address and an address on 5101 Hawthorne.

Scaramucci gained the seconding and new designation when Sheriff Parnell McNamara accepted a federal grant for a detective’s salary, expenses and training, it was learned from seasoned lawmen.

When he first visited the parlor, he received a massage and at its conclusion, the woman signaled by gesture that she would masturbate him to a “happy ending” for an additional fee. He declined.

In two separate search warrants, one for the Washington Ave. address, and another for 2625 W. Waco Dr., Detective Scaramucci and his squad uncovered six caches of U.S. currency in the cribs which they did not inventory or count. Veteran lawmen said that is a very irregular practice. Confiscated cash is often noted by serial number, the bills photocopied. In the case of asset forfeiture, the money must be put in a bank account. No such notation appears in the paperwork furnished by the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office.

Men who visited the brothels were identified by their pictures snapped by clocks in the establishments, which captured the couple who operated the establishments in the act of setting up and adjusting the surveillance cameras.

The women, who were turned over to a social work service for supervision, were paid 20 percent of their earnings after a fee of $300 per month had been collected for their room and on-site board at the brothel.

According to Scaramucci’s affidavit, the human trafficking victims are usually unaware of what their exact duties will be until they have arrived at the place where they will be employed to perform acts of prostitution.

The property company, Lone Star Properties, is represented by a man named Mohammed Jamil Esmaiel, according to utility records, according to court papers.

The full array of warrants, booking information, and probable cause affidavits may be read by clicking here:



Deputy Stephen Johnson, snapped in a happy mood

One may view Deputy Johnson’s TCOLE Record here:


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