Undercover operation leads to arrest

Lacey, WA|Sex-Trafficking|Add Comment
By: JEREMY PAWLOSKI , Bellingham Herald
Jim Larkin, CEO Backpage

The Lacey Police Department served a search warrant at the massage parlor on Oct. 12. The business, located in the 6000 block of Pacific Avenue SE, advertises on the website backpage.com.

The search warrant was served at the massage parlor on the same day a Lacey undercover officer went there and asked the 46-year-old masseuse to perform a sex act in exchange for $20.

“The female asked what he did for a living and asked if he was a police officer, at that time the undercover officer told her he was currently in the Army, at which time she asked for proof of that, he removed his old military license from his wallet and provided it to her,” according to a search warrant affidavit.

“She responded that she was happy he was not in law enforcement, and that she was happy to perform (the sex act) and they arranged a price of $20 ... she attempted to lay him on his back to perform the agreed upon service,” the search warrant affidavit continues.

The undercover officer received a 30-minute full body massage from the woman before he had asked for the sex act, the affidavit states. The police officer’s records check through the state Department of Health indicated she is not licensed to provide full-body massages, as required under state law, according to the affidavit.

Lacey Police Lt. Phil Comstock confirmed Monday that the woman who was arrested is Xia Li, 46, a Chinese citizen who is legally living in the United States with a work visa. She was cited with solicitation to commit prostitution, a misdemeanor, Comstock said.

A woman who answered the phone at the massage parlor on Monday hung up on a reporter.

Lacey Police Lt. Phil Comstock, said the undercover operations by Lacey officers have been precipitated by a number of citizen complaints, and complaints by legitimate massage practitioners about possible prostitution and unlicensed practitioners.

An undercover Lacey police officer also recently went to a massage parlor in the 4600 block of 14th Avenue, and received a full-body massage from an unlicensed masseuse, court papers state. That business was accused of operating outside the scope of its license, but not of engaging in prostitution.

Lacey police seized computers and financial records from both the Pacific Avenue and the 14th Avenue businesses.

In 2012, Lacey and Seattle police have been on the lookout for massage parlors that allegedly violate prostitution laws.

In late February, Lacey police assisted the Seattle Police Department with two raids of Lacey massage parlors.

As a result of those raids, two women at Imperial Foot Massage on Martin Way were cited with misdemeanor prostitution charges. Both women have pleaded not guilty to those charges.

And in June, Lacey police referred misdemeanor criminal charges against masseuses at two Lacey massage parlors for allegedly practicing without a license.

Read more here: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2012/10/23/2738854/undercover-operation-leads-to.html#storylink=cpy

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