PLANO (CBSDFW.COM) – Federal prosecutors call their raids on houses and massage parlors in Plano and North Dallas “Operation Flaming Dragon.”
The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas, Malcolm Bales told a news conference at the Plano police department, “We’ve dealt a crippling blow to this organization.”
Prosecutors say the masterminds of the alleged prostitution ring operated the homes and parlors as brothels and brought in millions of dollars.
Authorities say many of the prostitutes are originally from China.
Bales says, “Some of them are here on visas. Some are permanent residents. What we’re going to try to understand is how they got here in the first place. But it’s clear there’s some sort of organization that geta these women from one place to the other.”
Prosecutors say there’s no evidence the women are victims of human trafficking or being held against their will.
Court documents say as part of the alleged scheme, the prostitutes were transported from California, Nevada, and Georgia to Texas.
Some had to pay for their own airfare.
Agents say the spas owners also rented houses where the prostitutes could have sex with clients, not only in the Dallas area, but in St. Louis and Oklahoma City.
In all, 11 people have been indicted on federal charges. Eight of them have been arrested. Nine people have been arrested on state charges including prostitution.
Rodney Blu once worked next to this North Dallas spa, that’s part of the alleged scheme, and often saw their customers. There were “Corporate America types in $100,000 cars strolling right up to the neighboring establishment.” said Blu.
In addition, prosecutors accuse the owner of the spas, Tony Ha, of paying undercover Plano police officers bribes to keep detectives away from his businesses.
Bales says that amounted to, “$305,000. Even as late as last week, there was a bribe payment.”
If convicted, Ha faces a maximum penalty of ten years in prison on the bribery charges, and five years for each of the other federal charges.
Child Protective Services tells CBS-11 it removed three children from the Plano House, including a 6 month old boy, and two girls ages five and 15.
CPS says it’s investigating whether the children are victims of abuse.
Prosecutors say there’s no evidence the children were part of the alleged ring.
Prosecutors seized $300,000, nine cars including a Mercedes, BMW, and two Lexuses, and the house in Plano.
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