Search warrants unsealed in Maine’s Zumba Madam case
Details of the warrants used in the investigation of alleged Zumba Madam Alexis Wright, 29, and her alleged business partner Mark Strong, 57, were unsealed Tuesday October 31. The records reveal a thorough search of Wright’s home, car and business offices on February 14, 2012 by a coordinated team of the Kennebunk Police Department, Maine Drug Enforcement Agency and Wells Police Department. Kennebunk Police Officer Audra Presby initially sought the search warrants on February 10.
In the documents Presby identified the objects of the search as any and all evidence relating to the acts of engaging in or promoting prostitution. Such items may include money, business records, recording equipment, video recordings, sexual devices or anything related to Wright’s business.
Records indicate that the search of Wright’s High Street office resulted in police finding four bottles of baby oil, one bottle of Astroglide, condoms, camcorders and cameras, computers, a private eye identification and badge, several bank records, a monthly planner and an envelope from a local motel. The search of Wright’s Toyota 4-Runner turned up an airline itinerary and $1,000 in cash in a white envelope.
Police seized from Wright’s Loop Road home bank statements and books, a list of email addresses, eight Express Mail sheets from the post office addressed to Strong Investigations, DVDs, an information sheet on Mark Strong, a notebook with names, a black leather appointment book with names and a sheet on “domination fetishes.”
In two subsequent search warrants Presby seized evidence from Wright’s alleged business partner Mark Strong’s home and office as well as the subscriber records associated with Strong’s insurance agency from the InforME Records Division in Augusta. Presby justified the search warrants by stating that she watched hours of video footage of Strong engaging in sexual activity with Wright, watched additional videos where Wright was either on the phone or Skype with Strong before clients arrived, and she found a ledger that matched sex acts performed on video. “Every sexual act was either videotaped or sent via Skype to Mark W. Strong Sr,” wrote Presby.
Police carried out the The InforME search in May and seized, notably, Excel spreadsheets containing client lists with names, email addresses and phone numbers, descriptions of sex acts and amounts charged along with dates and times of services provided.
According to Presby’s records notable items seized from Strong’s office included a black night vision camera, multiple computers and computer equipment, camcorders, six cameras and DVDs. In the search of Strong’s home police seized a significant amount of electronics including, notably, two cell phones, five laptops, a Strong Agency file folder, check receipts, bank records, tax records, computer disks, two digital voice recorders from the kitchen, two mini cassettes from the kitchen and a GPS unit.
Deputy District Attorney Justina McGettigan initially applied to have the warrants sealed in February, writing that the release of the materials “may jeopardize the safety of any confidential informant(s)/witnesses described in the affidavit, as well as any pending investigations in which the confidential informant(s) may be actively engaged.”
Wright is charged with 106 counts of prostitution, violation of privacy, tax evasion and other related charges for allegedly using her Zumba dance studio and a nearby apartment to engage in sexual activities for money. She has pleaded not guilty in a Portland superior court. The district attorney also charged Strong with 59 counts of promoting prostitution and violation of privacy, and he has likewise pleaded not guilty.
Ryan Kerns, Esq., Wild About Trial
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