TACOMA, Wash. — Investigators with the Columbia River Drug Task Force are looking for two Pierce County residents accused of running a human trafficking ring that stretches across Washington.
Last year, detectives were informed three massage parlors were a front for prostitution.
“They were displayed and appeared from the outside to be running like a regular massage parlor when in fact there was prostitution going on inside of them,” said Chelan County Sheriff’s Office Chief Ryan Moody, Commander of the Columbia River Drug Task Force.
Moody said two of the massage parlors are in downtown Wenatchee and one is in Kennewick.
Detectives searched all three along with a fourth location in Tacoma off 102nd Street.
“A little close to home, I mean I got a daughter, you know, that’s young, so it kind of sucks,” said Kevin Helde.
Helde said he’s lived in Tacoma for about 25 years, and said it’s tough to hear about these situations.
“Don’t go with anybody you don’t know,” said Helde.
The suspects were identified as 60-year-old Linhui Yan and 43-year-old Yan Yang of Tacoma, according to the task force.
Yan and Yang are facing charges of leading organized crime, promoting prostitution, and money laundering.
Officials say human trafficking is a big issue across the state.
“It’s definitely a prevalent issue and there’s a lot more going on than I think the general public even realizes. The difficulty for us at law enforcement at this point is having enough resources to combat it,” said Moody.
Over the course of the investigation, detectives were able to talk with some of the human trafficking victims and offer them resources.
Anyone who knows Yan or Yang’s whereabouts is asked to contact the Columbia River Drug Task Force at 509-664-2310.
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