Little River women among 6 charged in illicit massage parlor sting

Grand Strand Crime

RALEIGH, N.C. (WBTW) — Six women, including some from Little River, were arrested and indicted in a massage parlor sting, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Ok Hwa Lee, Shanyu Song, JinHua Piao, XueJin Bai and Ming Ji Cao allegedly conspired to pay bribes to a law enforcement officer to provide protection for the operation of illegal massage parlors in Cary and Wilmington, North Carolina, according to a news release. The law enforcement officer was an undercover agent posing as a corrupt officer.

According to the release, sexual services were offered at the locations. All five were charged with conspiracy, bribery, and operating an illegal prostitution enterprise in interstate commerce.

The criminal complaint says the five women offered to pay the undercover officer $1,600 per month to protect all of their locations from law enforcement scrutiny. The undercover agent met with Cao later that day and told her that if she gave him money they would both get in trouble.

Cao said she understood and allegedly gave the undercover agent $1,000 and said “Only you and me,” according to the criminal complaint.

Since August 2020, the undercover agent met with the five women or employees working for them to collect the bribe payments, according to the criminal complaint. The agent collected a total of $15,400 from the women.

A sixth person, Xiang Yue Jin, was charged separately for allegedly also bribing an undercover agent believing he would protect her illegal massage parlors, according to the release. She was charged with bribery and operating an illegal prostitution enterprise in interstate commerce.

The release did not specify which women are from Little River and which are from Flushing, New York.

The Department of Homeland Security — Homeland Security Investigations is investigating the case with help from the FBI, Wake County Sheriff’s Office, the Durham County Sheriff’s Office, the Cary Police Department, the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office, the Wilmington Police Department, and the Horry County Police Department.

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