Eleven Chinese immigrants were identified as part of a massage parlor sex sting operation in Leon Valley.
Ting Tong, 49, was arrested for prostitution, and Suhua Jiang, 59, was arrested for practicing without a license.
The city of Leon Valley recently passed a new ordinance that requires background checks and other protocols to operate a massage parlor, Police Chief Joe Salvaggio said.
“Each one had two people living inside the establishments. Everybody was of Chinese descent. Nobody spoke English,” Salvaggio said.
Salvaggio described the living conditions inside the facilities as disgusting.
“They’re not supposed to be cooking in there. It was pretty nasty,” he said.
Salvaggio does not believe anyone was being held against their will, but he thinks the people are part of a large network. The area outside each facility included a camera, a locked door and a doorbell, and the businesses are open late. Advertising was done openly on the internet, the chief said.
“As quickly as you shut them down, they open somewhere else,” he said, warning other municipalities to look out. “A lot of business owners of the strip malls know what’s going on but will rent to them because they pay good money.”
Salvaggio said the Department of Homeland Security has been informed about the operation and will receive the names of those involved.
Two customers at the facilities were not arrested. But Salvaggio said police took the names of other customers for possible future investigations.
Janell Mathis owns a business next door to one of the massage parlors. She was not shocked by the arrests.
“We thought it was kind of shady, just the number of men coming in and out of there,” Mathis said. “We kind of figured something was up and it was only a matter of time. I thought about calling somebody and letting them know, but without proof, I couldn’t.”