SEATTLE - Agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested two people today as part of a two-year investigation into a prostitution ring and money laundering conspiracy that operated out of three brothels housed in tanning salons located in the greater Seattle area.
Donald Kerry Frey, 36, of South Lake Tahoe, Calif., and Nguyen Tran Nguyen, 26, of Renton, Wash., were taken into custody after federal search warrants were served at six different locations. The locations included the Aloha Tanning Resort in Renton, Wash., the Avalon Spa in North Seattle and the Malibu Tanning Spa in Tukwila, Wash. Search warrants were also served at homes in Kent, Wash., and Renton as well as on board the "Island Girl" moored at the Westlake Marina on Lake Union in Seattle.
According to court documents, Frey operated his businesses under the name of Crown Venture Capitol, Inc., and Crown Venture Management, Ltd., from his home in California. Every couple of weeks, Frey would fly to Seattle to collect thousands of dollars in cash from Nguyen and others who were managers at his businesses.
Frey and Nguyen would regularly make arrangements to transport women to work in tanning salons as prostitutes. The women would stay for several weeks and eventually leave Washington state for another location. While working here at the salons, the women offered to provide sex acts to undercover officers and informants in exchange for cash.
"The organizers of this illegal network viewed people as nothing more than currency," said Leigh Winchell, special agent in charge of ICE's office of investigations in Seattle. "ICE will continue to work closely with its law enforcement partners to investigate crimes like these and ensure that the actions of those who exploit others for profit do not go unchecked or unpunished."
Conspiracy to transport individuals in furtherance of prostitution is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Money laundering conspiracy is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine. Prosecutors are also moving to forfeit to the government all cash and valuables the defendants acquired from their illegal activities and used to facilitate their crimes.
ICE was joined in this investigation by the King County Sheriff's Department and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation.