Two Men Arraigned in Pittsfield Human Trafficking Case
Back in November, the Pittsfield Police arrested two men in connection to a human trafficking investigation. On Thursday, they were arraigned in court.
Joseph VanWert, 65, of Pittsfield and Randy Lambach, 45, of Becket both pleaded not guilty to the charges.
According to the Pittsfield Police, the two men were allegedly part of a city-wide prostitution ring and after a number of calls of solicitation throughout the city, the department opened up an investigation.
"The women were recruited by Lambach, then photographed and advertised on social media sites. Lambach facilitated meeting locations with prospective 'johns' and transported these women to specified locations," said the PPD in a press release following the arrests. "He would often wait nearby to take a portion of the earnings. He would also compensate the women with narcotics in lieu of cash. This included heroin, cocaine and prescription medication."
VanWert is accused of running the prostitution ring out of his home, which is a senior-living facility on North St. that is offered as low-income housing for people age 62 or older.
The two men remain behind bars as they await trial.