GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) — A multi-agency sting conducted in Williamson and Bell Counties resulted in numerous arrests related to human trafficking and illegal sex services at massage businesses.
The Georgetown Police Department says it worked with the Round Rock Police Department and several other agencies to conduct a “large-scale operation” on locations throughout the area including seven in Bell County, five in Round Rock and one in Georgetown.
Of the 13 arrested in the May 16 operation, seven people were arrested in Georgetown and Round Rock.
The investigation began in August 2016 when Georgetown police received a report of illegal activity at New Shanghai Spa at 1915 S. Austin Ave. Ste. 107.
Code Enforcement and police officers could not confirm a certificate of occupancy or any massage licenses, leading to two arrests in connection with performing massage without a license and operating a massage parlor without a license.
In August 2017, more complaints came in reporting suspicious activity, including clients coming and going outside the posted hours, clients being there for only a short amount of time, clients bringing in alcohol and parking across the street when closer parking was available and hanging out men’s clothing to be picked up at a later date.
“I knew something was up over there. I just had a suspicion,” said insurance agent Adam Shingleton, who works across the street.
Shingleton said he saw women coming in and out early in the morning with suitcases. “I think a lot of what we used to think was big city stuff, you know, it’s here.”
Investigators determined the massage operation was part of a web that stretched to Houston and into Killeen and Temple.
Over the next nine months, investigators say they worked with federal, state and other local agencies, culminating in the 13 warrants served this month throughout Central Texas, including at 11 spas and two residences.
Their surveillance of the businesses and residences showed women — who worked 7-12 hour days, seven days a week — were being dropped off and picked up by the same person every day.
The charges include aggravated promotion of prostitution, prostitution and operating a massage parlor without a license.
Georgetown Police Cpt. Roland Waits said, “We’ve had a very successful first pass at cleaning up our communities, but our work is not over.”
Waits says investigators have not identified a “mastermind” behind the operation.
According to one arrest affidavit, Yingbo Xu, 45, was arrested on May 17 and charged with aggravated promotion of prostitution. Court documents show he worked at the Shanghai Spa in Georgetown.
Additional arrests are expected, including customers who paid for the services. Police say they are working with social services and immigration to help the people involved in the businesses who were not arrested.
Warrants were served at the following local addresses:
- New Shanghai Spa at 1915 S. Austin Ave. Ste. 107 in Georgetown
- Shanghai Spa at 2201 Double Creek Dr. in Round Rock
- Ocean Spa at 3000 Joe DiMaggio Dr. in Round Rock
- King Spa at 1305 S. Mays in Round Rock
- Residence at 1200 Mays Street in Round Rock
- Residence in the 1200 block of Hidden Valley Drive in Round Rock
The seven who were arrested in Georgetown and Round Rock are:
- Xiaolin Yang on a charge of aggravated promotion of prostitution
- Yingbo Xu on a charge of aggravated promotion of prostitution
- Jianhong Li on a charge of aggravated promotion of prostitution
- Guiqui Li on a charge of prostitution
- Lizhen Song on a charge of prostitution
- Yuexia Sun on a charge of prostitution
- Zhihua Cui on a charge of prostitution