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Human Smuggling/Trafficking
03/07/2014

HSI, Dallas PD serve search warrants at 10 Dallas massage parlors

21 foreign-national women arrested on administrative immigration violations; about $640,000 seized from safes and accounts

HSI, Dallas PD serve search warrants at 10 Dallas massage parlors
HSI, Dallas PD serve search warrants at 10 Dallas massage parlors
HSI, Dallas PD serve search warrants at 10 Dallas massage parlors
HSI, Dallas PD serve search warrants at 10 Dallas massage parlors
DALLAS — Law enforcement teams assigned to the North Texas Trafficking Task Force (NTTTF) executed state search warrants Wednesday arresting 21 foreign-national women at 10 Dallas massage parlors suspected of operating as fronts for the illegal sex industry and harboring illegal aliens.

The NTTTF teams, including special agents from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and officers from Dallas Police Department (DPD), executed the search warrants at businesses located in the 11300 block of Emerald St. and the 2100 block of North Northwest Highway.

While executing the search warrants March 5, HSI special agents encountered and administratively arrested for immigration violations 21 foreign national women who worked at the massage parlors; 18 were from Thailand and three were from South Korea. One woman was also criminally arrested for possessing methamphetamine.

The Dallas County District Attorney's Office will consider any future criminal prosecutions related to the illegal commercial sex-oriented businesses.

Upon executing the search warrants, the 10 teams of officers and special agents entered all 10 establishments simultaneously at noon March 5. Search warrants were also executed at the Irving, Texas, residence of a business owner, two safe deposit boxes, and three bank accounts. Overall, HSI special agents seized about $640,000 in cash, and computers, cell phones and miscellaneous documents.

"HSI, DPD and our other NTTTF partners conduct these operations against the illegal sex industry to locate and rescue victims of human trafficking, and bring to justice those responsible," said David M. Marwell, special agent in charge of HSI Dallas. "However, the best way of attacking human trafficking is by increasing public awareness of this crime."

The following NTTTF member agencies also participated in this investigation, and the March 5 operation: Dallas County District Attorney's office, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), U.S. Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) Border Patrol, Texas Attorney General's Office, and the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS).

During the course of this operation and investigation, special agents and officers are also closely checking for signs related to sex trafficking where primarily women are forced into the illegal sex industry against their will.

Numerous prostitution cases have been made by Dallas Police Department Vice Officers during the course of this investigation. HSI Dallas has determined that the businesses operate solely for the purpose of prostitution and have no other legitimate reason for operating.

The investigation so far revealed a revolving door of owners and female workers in each of the 10 establishments. The massage parlors are owned and operated by several different individuals. The employees are often rotated throughout the United States to work in other massage parlors and prostitution establishments. The establishment owners were often off-site and normally only visited the locations to pick up the proceeds to make bank deposits.

While executing the search warrants, translators were available on site to interview these foreign-national women who were encountered. Those arrested administratively for immigration violations will be processed and given a notice to appear before a federal immigration judge who will rule on their cases.

The HSI-led NTTTF is comprised of 17 Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex law enforcement agencies designed to bring together the expertise, training, experience and law enforcement authorities of the partnered agencies to help identify human traffickers, and prosecute them while also rescuing and aiding their victims.