United Airlines pilot's lawyer says brothel allegations are overblown

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Bruce Wayne Wallis, 51, is charged with aggravated promotion of prostitution and engaging in organized criminal activity. (KTRK)

The United Airlines pilot accused of operating half a dozen brothels across Houston appeared in court Monday morning.

Bruce Wayne Wallis, 51, is charged with aggravated promotion of prostitution and engaging in organized criminal activity. His attorney, Dan Cogdell, says the allegations are overblown.

"This may be the newest prosecution of the world's oldest profession. But it is hardly the case of the century the state makes it out to be," Cogdell said.

Also in court Monday was his alleged accomplice Tracie Tanner, a woman who her attorney characterizes as much a victim as a defendant.

Mug shots of women arrested in connection with pilot brothel case
Mug shots of 'johns' arrested in Houston-area sting in early March


"She's in a very scary place right now and I'm here to protect her and I will not let this man or anyone else ever hurt her again," Tanner's attorney Mark Metzger said.

Prosecutors say this as large a case as they've ever uncovered.

"This operation involved 26 search warrants. All served simultaneously. This operation involved twenty arrest warrants," Assistant District Attorney Lester Blizzard said.

Eyewitness News has learned exclusively some of what prosecutors were hoping to find and use as evidence against the pilot and the multitude of women who worked for him: vehicles, condoms, shipping labels, electronics, storage devices, books, massage licenses, and any records related to organized prostitution.

"In a day and age where maybe some people don't think highly of the police, when something like this happens, you can tell that there are police officers doing very good work," Blizzard said.

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