Six arrested in Carmel, Zionsville prostitution sting
In the heart of downtown Carmel, not far from the police station, business owners in a strip mall along Rangeline Road knew something wasn't right at Dove Spa.
They say the massage parlor was open 12 hours a day, and often well into the night.
"There have been times when it's 2:00 am and guys are going in there. I've seen a lot of things go in and out of there that was kind of fishy and shady and there's been a lot of just men that go in there," said Courtney Cash, who works at a store nearby.
Courtney says she wasn't surprised to see the spa place crawling with police Wednesday morning for a prostitution raid.
She watched the bust from her storefront.
"They came in and you could tell they meant business. They just took them out one by one and took their mug shots right in front of the building and put them in the car and that was it," Cash said.
The Hamilton/Boone County Drug Task Force, along with several area police agencies, participated in the investigation. Police announced the results of the investigation at a news conference this afternoon.
Police arrested five female employees, along with the owner of two massage parlors - Dove Spa in Carmel and the Beijing Spa in Zionsville.
They launched an undercover investigation last summer after an anonymous tip about sexual activity inside.
Today, after searching both businesses and three homes, police seized two cars and $250,000 dollars, including $210,000 in cash, which police say they found stashed in banks, safety deposit boxes and suitcases in the suspects' homes.
Police say Lu Wang, 50, of Fishers, was running a prostitution ring through the Dove Spa massage parlor. He faces charges in connection with promoting prostitution.
"And the significance of this case is we were able to get to the top of the person that was actually writing the checks, person actually controlling the business," said Major Aaron Dietz, commander of the Hamilton/Boone County Drug Task Force.
Police estimate hundreds of customers came through these doors over the past few years.
Courtney Cash said some even tried today.
"Two men that walked up and tried to get in and one was very mad because they had an appointment and what's sad is they both had wedding rings on and when the police told them that it was busted for prostitution, their attitude completely changed and they ran to their cars and left," she said.
Now Courtney says she's just relieved the spa is shut down.
In addition to Wang's arrest, several women who worked at Dove Spa were charged with prostitution, including Hui Xiao, 40, Yajie Liu, 55, Min Yu, 43 and Toby Hou, 23. All of the women live in Carmel except for Yu, who lives in Fishers. All were arrested except Liu. Police are still looking for her.
Carmel police provided booking photos of Hui Xiao, Min Yu and Jinna Luan, as well as Lu Wang.
In the course of their investigation, police discovered a financial connection between Dove Spa in Carmel and Beijing Spa in Zionsville. That led to the arrests of Jinna Luan, 52, of Carmel, for promoting prostitution and Aiqin Yu, 40, of Zionsville, on two counts prostitution.