Tuesday, August 11, 2009
12 arrested in prostitution raid in Garden Grove Westminster police say this is largest, most public brothel operation they’ve seen recently in area.
By DEEPA BHARATH
The Orange County Register
WESTMINSTER – Police on Friday arrested a 23-year-old Westminster man in
connection with running a brothel, which officials say is the largest they
have seen in the area.
Officers from the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force searched Thong
Vinh Le’s home in the 9800 block of Ashford Avenue in Westminster and his
place of business in the 9800 block of Katella Avenue in Garden Grove, said
Westminster police Lt. Derek Marsh. Eleven women, all of them Vietnamese,
suspected of prostitution were arrested at the location, he said. The names
of the women are not being released because they are being treated as
victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation, Marsh said.
Police detectives were tipped off to the Garden Grove location by an
advertisement for massage services in a Vietnamese newspaper, Marsh said.
“The location was actually a chiropractor’s office that offered massage
services on the side,” he said.
Police are still looking into whether the chiropractor who owned the
business was also part of the suspected brothel operation, Marsh said.
This is the most “egregious” operation he has seen in the Little Saigon
area, he said.
“Usually these types of brothels are located in a strip mall,” he said. “But
this one was in an area pretty open to the public. There is a supermarket
there, a dentist’s office right next door. In fact, when we went there, the
door to the dentist’s office was open and there was a young child sitting on
a chair waiting to be seen.”
It is also unusual for police to find as many as 11 women, he said.
“The operations we see locally are usually much smaller and not as public,”
Le was the “pimp” who managed the women and the “front office,” Marsh said.
Customers, once they walked in, would be escorted inside the office that has
several rooms where visitors are “serviced,” he said.
“On the right side was a small alcove with a sofa where these women would be
seated and the customer could pick and choose the woman he was attracted
to,” Marsh said.
These were details undercover officers gathered during their investigations,
The task force also worked with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to determine the women’s immigration status. Marsh said three of the 11 women were U.S. citizens, three were “undetermined” and the rest appeared to have valid green cards.
“In such operations, we usually find that the women have been brought into
the country illegally and employed in such illicit operations,” Marsh said.
Last year, the Westminster Police Department, a partner in the task force,
received a $1.2 million federal grant, along with the Salvation Army, to
combat human trafficking in Orange County, but particularly in the Asian
American communities in and around Little Saigon where it is prevalent.
Marsh, who heads the task force, said his team partners with ICE, Salvation
Army and the FBI to investigate these cases and rehabilitate victims.
The old way of policing used to be to charge women suspected of being
prostitutes with misdemeanors and release them back into the community, he
“The new way is to treat them as victims, because most of the time they are, and try to rehabilitate them,” Marsh said.
*Contact the writer:* 949-553-2903 or dbhar…@ocregister.com
Please notice that the white vice cop’s job here is to STOP ASIAN MEN AND WOMEN FROM HAVING CONSENSUAL SEX WITH EACH OTHER.