Authorities arrested six people early Saturday morning, hours after raiding a Norco golf tournament that allegedly offered romps with prostitutes inside tents set up on the greens.
Riverside County sheriff’s deputies, some of whom hid in trees to conduct surveillance, interviewed more than 100 golfers and course employees during the Friday afternoon raid. About 19 women were also interviewed.
The arrests were the talk of the course, with some male golfers saying it was already difficult enough getting their wives to OK a round.
“Now what am I supposed to say?” asked one golfer at Hidden Valley Golf Club, who asked not to be identified. “ ‘Hey honey, I’m going to the prostitution club.’ Give me a break!”
Hidden Valley managers Jason Wood, 36, and Darren Bollinger, 28, both of Temecula, were arrested on suspicion of pimping and pandering. Sandy Juarez, 37, of Lancaster, was booked on the same charges and is believed to have provided the prostitutes for the players, authorities said.
Angie Peraza, 34, of Victorville was arrested on suspicion of prostitution and child endangerment because she brought her child to the course, authorities said.
Sharon Mitchell, 38, of Newport Beach was arrested on suspicion of possessing a controlled substance, and Allan Flemming, 34, of Laguna Niguel was taken into custody on suspicion of soliciting a prostitute and resisting arrest, investigators said.
Course owner Henry Cox said the sponsor of Friday’s tournament, which he would identify only as a Los Angeles restaurant, was responsible for bringing in the prostitutes.
He insisted his employees knew nothing about it until the raid.
“This is very embarrassing,” said Cox, adding that his employees shouldn’t have been arrested. “These are clean-cut guys, and I can tell you we had no connection whatsoever to what was going on.”
Cox said the tents where the encounters occurred were far from the clubhouse and out of sight from course employees.
“Lots of tournaments set up tents where drinks and prizes are handed out,” Cox said.
“Of course, not prizes like this.”
The same restaurant sponsored at least one other tournament at Hidden Valley, Cox said. Authorities suspect sexual favors were also offered then.
Despite the scandal, Hidden Valley wasn’t hurting for golfers Saturday morning. Employees scrambled to keep up with customers streaming in the door.
“Well, it is a very nice day to play golf,” said Ron Rodriguez after dropping a putt on the sixth hole.
Rodriguez and his friends said they watched the television news in shock Friday night as detectives swarmed the course, but most wouldn’t be deterred.
If the club was open, they would play.
“When you’re scheduled to play, you’re scheduled to play,” said one man, who identified himself only as Scott.
He was just thankful his wife fell asleep before the nightly news came on.