Thursday, 16 August 2018 13:50

Warrant: Undercover operative documented Lily Spa activity

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An undercover operative from the state Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy was used to gather information which led to the arrests of two women at a Roanoke Rapids business police say was used as a front for prostitution.

The representative from the board went into Lily Spa on Julian R. Allsbrook Highway on July 25, according to a search warrant filed by Investigator Chris Babb of the Roanoke Rapids Police Department.

“The representative posed as a regular customer of the business and was solicited for sexual acts up to and including felatio and sexual intercourse in exchange for money,” Babb wrote in the August 9 search warrant. “The representative provided a full report to the Roanoke Rapids Police Department. The representative included … a descriptive narrative about the encounter. The representative included screenshots from a website with customer reviews of the business. These customer reviews include rather raunchy and sexually explicit content about the services provided.”

Babb said in the search warrant “based on the report and the content read in recent reviews, it is evident that criminal activity is going on inside the business.”

Continuation of 2011 investigation

In writing about probable cause at the beginning of the search warrant, Babb noted, “Agents of the Roanoke Rapids Police Department are conducting an investigation into ongoing and continuous complaints”athe business.

“Initial investigation began in 2011 when agents received multiple complaints of prostitution and solicitation involving this business and individuals that frequent this business,” Babb wrote. “An investigation into the matter at the time led to the execution of a search warrant and the arrest of two individuals involved in solicitation of prostitution and utilizing the business as a front to run a brothel.”

After those charges were lodged, Babb said in the document, the business reopened under new management.

Babb wrote it is common “for these ‘massage’ businesses to be fronts for prostitution and human trafficking.”

Asked today whether the police department was investigating a human trafficking angle in the case, Chief Chuck Hasty said, “We’re investigating all angles at this time.”

Babb said in the search warrant “the women that ‘work’ in these environments are sometimes forced to work in conditions of indentured servitude. The women are commonly shuffled from one location to another in order to avoid detection, avoid prosecution and to further the interests of human trafficking and prostitution enterprises.”

Common for women to live in the businesses

Wrote Babb: “Furthermore it is common for the … women to live inside the business, many times against city ordinance codes.”

The address in the previous investigation had been used as a residence and police said last week the women arrested — Yoo Im OK, 63, and Young Soon Kim, 58, also listed the business as their residence. The women have September 5 court dates.

The investigation was reopened, Babb said in the document, after recent citizen complaints as well as complaints from the state massage board.

Prior to that, members of the former City County Drug Task Force had investigated the business and sent undercover operatives in on at least one occasion.

Hasty said he was pleased with the work of the police department and the state board in the case. “They worked together and discussed how they were going to work based on the complaints they received.”

Items seized

Babb listed the items seized following the raid last week.

Some of the items seized were:

Nearly $2,000 in cash

Two Trojan condoms

Samsung tablet

Four business cards

Samsung phone

Two Durex condoms and one Trojan condom

Samsung phone

PNC bank checks

A carisoprodol tablet. It is a schedule IV controlled substance and is commonly used to treat pain and stiffness from muscle spasms

A coffee can with a false bottom

Paperwork

Credit card machine in shoebox

Verifone credit card machine

PNC bank stamps

Jo H2O personal lubricant

Two credit cards

The business’s surveillance system

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