Tacoma prostitution ring bust may be tied to national sex trafficking
Prosecutors say a prostitution ring in Tacoma may be tied to national and even international sex trafficking.
Aiqin Jiang, 44, was arrested after Tacoma police and more than a half dozen state and federal agencies raided massage parlors on Thursday. Police conducted a lengthy undercover operation
after local businesses reported Jiang to authorities.
“They observed what they thought was very suspicious activities at these businesses,” said Tacoma police spokeswoman Officer Loretta Cool.
According to the charges Jiang ran massage parlors in seven different locations all within 2 miles of one another in east Tacoma on South 38th, Pacific and McKinley avenues.
Jiang allegedly housed women in apartments above one operation on 38th street charging them $10 a day.
Her 21-year-old son Lian Shi was also arrested and charged along with 39-year-old Qiuxia Lei who prosecutors say worked in one of Jiang's parlors.
Jiang and her son Shi each face one count of leading an organized crime operation and seven counts of promoting prostitution. Jiang and Lei are both charged with working as prostitutes in the parlors.
According to prosecutors all are Chinese nationals, although Jiang claimed through an interpreter that she is an American citizen.
Jiang allegedly has ties to massage parlor rings in California and Texas and may be involved in an international prostitution operation.
Jiang and Shi were ordered held on $500,000 bail and ordered to surrender their passports. Lei was freed without bail. All pleaded not guilty to the charges.
© 2019 Cox Media Group.