OAKLAND (KCBS) — Authorities in Northern California said 18 people face dozens of felony charges, including pimping, after several massage parlors were shut down during a series of early-morning raids.
Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said Friday the arrests came after federal, state and local law enforcement officers shut down 13 massage parlors in Oakland, San Leandro, San Lorenzo and Hayward that they allege were operating as brothels. The parlors are owned by five separate groups.
O’Malley said the suspects face more than 100 felonies including pimping, pandering, tax evasion and other labor code violations. The search is on for a 19th suspect. She said in addition to the illegal sex trafficking, there was also numerous instances of money laundering that could involve millions of dollars.
“60 of those charges are related to pimping and pandering. 51 of those charges are related to tax evasion and labor-code violations,” said Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley.
She added that investigators strongly believe that there’s a human trafficking component as well. “We believe that there are at least 50 women who either are being interviewed or will be interviewed who we’ve identified as working in those establishments or being forced to work at those establishments.”
Authorities say the arrests topped off a six-month investigation.
O’Malley said the operation sends a strong message that this type of illicit behavior is not acceptable in the community.