How a tip from the Health Department about suitcases piling up at a spa led to Robert Kraft’s charge

The investigation that has revealed what authorities believe to be an elaborate international sex trafficking ring in South Florida was all started by a tip about suitcases from the Health Department.

In July, Health Department officials told the Marin County Sheriff’s Department that suitcases were noticed inside the Bridge Day Spa in Hobe Sound, Florida.

Upon further review, Marin County Sheriff William Snyder learned that many of the women working in the spa only spoke Chinese dialects. This was a red flag for investigators as the exam to become a licensed masseuse in Florida is only offered in English and Spanish, the Wall Street Journal reported.

A similar tip about suitcases expanded the investigation into Orlando in October, according to USA Today

Now, at least eight Chinese women living in Florida have been arrested in connection with the sting that resulted in New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and more than 100 men in total being charged with solicitation of prostitution.

Sheriff Snyder said that authorities were in the process of seizing $2 million to $3 million in assets related to the trafficking scheme, and that investigators had been following as much as $20 million moving in and out of China.

‘The tentacles of this go from here to New York to China, in Florida from here [Marin County] to Orange County,’ Snyder said. 

The investigation that has revealed what authorities believe to be an elaborate international sex trafficking ring in South Florida was all started by a tip about suitcases from the Health Department. Now at least eight Chinese woman have all been arrested and hundreds of men have been charged as a result of an eight-month-long investigation into a human trafficking operation based in Florida.Yaping Ren, 27, of Orlando is pictured

The investigation that has revealed what authorities believe to be an elaborate international sex trafficking ring in South Florida was all started by a tip about suitcases from the Health Department. Now at least eight Chinese woman have all been arrested and hundreds of men have been charged as a result of an eight-month-long investigation into a human trafficking operation based in Florida.Yaping Ren, 27, of Orlando is pictured

The charges include racketeering, deriving support from proceeds of prostitution and engaging in prostitution. Lan Yun Ma, 49, of Orlando is pictured

The charges include racketeering, deriving support from proceeds of prostitution and engaging in prostitution. Lan Yun Ma, 49, of Orlando is pictured

The investigation that has revealed what authorities believe to be an elaborate international sex trafficking ring in South Florida was all started by a tip about suitcases from the Health Department. Now at least eight Chinese woman, including Lan Yun Ma, 49 (right), and Yaping Ren, 27 (left), have all been arrested and hundreds of men have been charged as a result of an eight-month-long investigation into a human trafficking operation based in Florida.

Lan Yun Ma, 49, and Yaping Ren, 27, of Orlando, Lixia Zhu, 48, of Stuart, Yan Xu, 51, of Sebastian, and Ruimei Li, 48, Hua Zhang, 58, and Lei Wang, 39, all of Jupiter, have been arrested as a result of an eight month long investigation into human trafficking.  

Sheriff Snyder said: ‘It was clear that multiple women were working and living inside the spas. They were cooking on the back steps of the business.

‘They were sleeping in the massage parlor on the massage tables.’ 

Vero Beach Police Chief David Currey said: ‘These girls are there all day long, into the evening. They can’t leave and they’re performing sex acts.

‘Some of them may tell us they’re OK, but they’re not. We know that… even though we may have charges on some of them, we’d rather them be victims.’

The women, who largely speak only Mandarin or Cantonese and no English, are believed to have come to the US on temporary work visas, finding themselves indebted to the the brokers who helped them reach America under the false belief that legitimate work awaited them. 

Officials have now said that a total of 13 Mandarin interpreters were speaking with the various women in the parlors.

Many of the women were operating under fraudulent masseuse licenses, authorities said.

Multiple spas in Florida have now been closed, and at least 100 men and 200 people in total have been implicated in the probe which authorities said was tied to prostitution through massage parlors where women were being treated as victims rather than paid sex workers. 

Of Kraft’s alleged involvement by receiving sexual services in exchange for money at a Jupiter massage parlor, Snyder said, ‘The arrest of the high-profile person brings light to what’s in the shadows.’

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is alleged to have received sexual services in exchange for money at a Jupiter massage parlor. Sheriff Snyder said, 'The arrest of the high-profile person brings light to what’s in the shadows.' Kraft is shown walking on the field before the AFC Championship NFL football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the New England Patriots, in Kansas City, Missouri, which is one of the days he has been accused of visiting the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is alleged to have received sexual services in exchange for money at a Jupiter massage parlor. Sheriff Snyder said, 'The arrest of the high-profile person brings light to what’s in the shadows.' Kraft is shown walking on the field before the AFC Championship NFL football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the New England Patriots, in Kansas City, Missouri, which is one of the days he has been accused of visiting the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is alleged to have received sexual services in exchange for money at a Jupiter massage parlor. Sheriff Snyder said, ‘The arrest of the high-profile person brings light to what’s in the shadows.’ Kraft is shown walking on the field before the AFC Championship NFL football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the New England Patriots, in Kansas City, Missouri, which is one of the days he has been accused of visiting the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter

BRIDGE DAY SPA IN HOBE SOUND   

Snyder made the decision to launch a deeper investigation beyond just prostitution when he received the suitcases tip about Bridge Day Spa in Hobe Sound in July.

After initial warrants gave detectives access to bank records showing the millions of dollars involved, authorities were granted warrants that allowed them to install surveillance cameras, unbeknownst to the owners at Bridge Day Spa.

That footage showed the women never left the building, or if they did, they were taken to other massage parlors, which expanded the investigation.

While in the parlors, the women prepared meals on hot plates and could not shower, all while being recorded engaging in sexual acts with an average of 15 customers each day, usually without any form of protection. 

‘These were full blown sex acts without protection,’ Snyder said, noting that the women did not seem to be receiving health care of any kind.

In July, Health Department officials told the Marin County Sheriff's Department that suitcases were noticed inside the Bridge Day Spa in Hobe Sound, Florida (shown). Upon further review, Marin County Sheriff William Snyder learned that many of the women working in the spa only spoke Chinese dialects, which was a red flag since the exam to become a licensed masseuse in Florida is only offered in English and Spanish. Later, warrants revealed sex acts in exchange for money being performed by women who seemed to be victims of sex trafficking

In July, Health Department officials told the Marin County Sheriff's Department that suitcases were noticed inside the Bridge Day Spa in Hobe Sound, Florida (shown). Upon further review, Marin County Sheriff William Snyder learned that many of the women working in the spa only spoke Chinese dialects, which was a red flag since the exam to become a licensed masseuse in Florida is only offered in English and Spanish. Later, warrants revealed sex acts in exchange for money being performed by women who seemed to be victims of sex trafficking

In July, Health Department officials told the Marin County Sheriff’s Department that suitcases were noticed inside the Bridge Day Spa in Hobe Sound, Florida (shown). Upon further review, Marin County Sheriff William Snyder learned that many of the women working in the spa only spoke Chinese dialects, which was a red flag since the exam to become a licensed masseuse in Florida is only offered in English and Spanish. Later, warrants revealed sex acts in exchange for money being performed by women who seemed to be victims of sex trafficking

ORCHIDS OF ASIA DAY SPAY IN JUPITER 

Zhang and Wang were arrested in connection with alleged activities at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, where Kraft is accused of paying for oral and non-penetrative sex.

The Jupiter Police Department released a list of all men charged in relation to the ring, including first and last names and dates of birth, which showed Kraft as implicated. 

A spokesperson for Kraft said: ‘We categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity.

‘Because it is a judicial matter, we will not be commenting further.’

Multiple spas in Florida have now been closed, and hundreds of people have been implicated in the probe which authorities said was tied to prostitution through massage parlors where women were being treated as victims rather than paid sex workers. New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft (pictured with Tom Brady on Monday) has been charged with two counts of soliciting prostitution at a parlor in Jupiter, related to the sting, which he has denied.

Multiple spas in Florida have now been closed, and hundreds of people have been implicated in the probe which authorities said was tied to prostitution through massage parlors where women were being treated as victims rather than paid sex workers. New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft (pictured with Tom Brady on Monday) has been charged with two counts of soliciting prostitution at a parlor in Jupiter, related to the sting, which he has denied.

Multiple spas in Florida have now been closed, and hundreds of people have been implicated in the probe which authorities said was tied to prostitution through massage parlors where women were being treated as victims rather than paid sex workers. New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft (pictured with Tom Brady on Monday) has been charged with two counts of soliciting prostitution at a parlor in Jupiter, related to the sting, which he has denied.

Tom Brady leans in to give Bob Kraft a hug after the two arrived at Boston's Logan Airport on Monday. The two have been close for 20 years

Tom Brady leans in to give Bob Kraft a hug after the two arrived at Boston's Logan Airport on Monday. The two have been close for 20 years

Tom Brady leans in to give Bob Kraft a hug after the two arrived at Boston’s Logan Airport on Monday. The two have been close for 20 years

Hua Zhang, 58 (pictured), and Lei Wang, 39, were arrested in connection with alleged activities at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter

Hua Zhang, 58 (pictured), and Lei Wang, 39, were arrested in connection with alleged activities at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter

That is the location Kraft is said to have frequented at least twice. Lei Wang is pictured

That is the location Kraft is said to have frequented at least twice. Lei Wang is pictured

Hua Zhang, 58 (left), and Lei Wang, (right) 39, were arrested in connection with alleged activities at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, where Kraft is accused of paying for oral and non-penetrative sex

Meanwhile the NFL has said it will handle the sex solicitation case involving Kraft as it would any other issue under the league’s conduct policy. 

Owners are subject to the same rules as players, which can includes a fine and/or a suspension.

The Palm Beach County parlor was described as providing sex acts, massages and body rubs for pay from Asian women on internet forums, in posts from February 2015 to March 2018.

Video showed sex acts being undertaken inside the spa and investigators retrieved evidence of bodily fluids from within the establishment.

At least 24 other men have been charged with solicitation of prostitution at that location alone. 

At least 24 other men have been charged with solicitation of prostitution at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa of Jupiter (pictured) alone

At least 24 other men have been charged with solicitation of prostitution at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa of Jupiter (pictured) alone

At least 24 other men have been charged with solicitation of prostitution at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa of Jupiter (pictured) alone

Mark Patrick Spero, 24, of Sebastian, charged with soliciting prostitution

Mark Patrick Spero, 24, of Sebastian, charged with soliciting prostitution

Jonathan Cort Beatty, 42, of Indian River County, charged with soliciting prostitution

Jonathan Cort Beatty, 42, of Indian River County, charged with soliciting prostitution

Mark Patrick Spero, 24 (left), of Sebastian, and Jonathan Cort Beatty, 42, of Indian River County have been charged with soliciting prostitution

Carl William Guidice, 58, of Golden Oak, charged with soliciting prostitution

Carl William Guidice, 58, of Golden Oak, charged with soliciting prostitution

Juan Manuel Dasilva, 60, of West Melbourne, charged with soliciting prostitution

Juan Manuel Dasilva, 60, of West Melbourne, charged with soliciting prostitution

Carl William Guidice, 58 (left), of Golden Oak and Juan Manuel Dasilva, 60 (right), of West Melbourne, have been charged with soliciting prostitution

Robert Craig Grimm, 38, of Palm Bay, charged with soliciting prostitution

Robert Craig Grimm, 38, of Palm Bay, charged with soliciting prostitution

Maneul Esquivel, 19, of Fort Pierce, charged with soliciting prostitution

Maneul Esquivel, 19, of Fort Pierce, charged with soliciting prostitution

Robert Craig Grimm, 38 (left), of Palm Bay and Maneul Esquivel, 19 (right), of Fort Pierce have been charged with soliciting prostitution

The Jupiter Police Department released a list of all men charged in relation to the ring, including first and last names and dates of birth, which showed Kraft as implicated

The Jupiter Police Department released a list of all men charged in relation to the ring, including first and last names and dates of birth, which showed Kraft as implicated

The Jupiter Police Department released a list of all men charged in relation to the ring, including first and last names and dates of birth, which showed Kraft as implicated

EAST SPA & MASSAGE AND RAINBOW SPA IN ORLANDO

It was another routine inspection at the East Spa & Massage parlor that began the unraveling of a Central Florida arm of the alleged international trafficking ring.

A health inspector noticed clothing, suitcases, food, bedding and other indicators that people were being housed at the spa, and reported that information to authorities in October.

Lan Yun Ma, whose address was listed as Grand Central Parkway, off John Young Parkway in Orlando, was seen by authorities buying food, water and condoms for East Spa & Massage in Winter Park, which has been closed, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

She was also captured on camera taking money from and performing sexual acts on customers, authorities said. 

It was a routine inspection at the East Spa & Massage parlor (pictured) in Indian River County that began the unraveling of this alleged international trafficking ring

It was a routine inspection at the East Spa & Massage parlor (pictured) in Indian River County that began the unraveling of this alleged international trafficking ring

It was a routine inspection at the East Spa & Massage parlor (pictured) in Indian River County that began the unraveling of this alleged international trafficking ring

In November, police had placed surveillance cameras in the establishment where Ma is believed to have been responsible for day-to-day operations.

Ma is also accused of transporting women to the spa ‘for the purpose of sexual servitude.’

Beyond Ma and her sister, who remains at large, ‘none of the other woman employed at East Spa have been allowed to leave the spa on their own on a daily basis,’ authorities said.

Ma is married to Yongzhang Yan, whose address is listed as the East Spa & Massage location, but he is not yet facing charges.

Vero Beach Police Chief Currey said on Thursday that the continued investigation ‘hopefully will produce charges for [Yan],’ who was seen with Ma and Ren taking luggage and other items into the spa on December 31.

Ren was captured on camera performing at least 10 sex acts, authorities said.

Officials have described  Yaping Ren (pictured) as a manager at the Rainbow Spa, which is located near downtown Orlando

Officials have described  Yaping Ren (pictured) as a manager at the Rainbow Spa, which is located near downtown Orlando

A woman named Junhua Dong, 50 (pictured), of Vero Beach has also been charged with racketeering, deriving support from proceeds of prostitution and engaging in prostitution

A woman named Junhua Dong, 50 (pictured), of Vero Beach has also been charged with racketeering, deriving support from proceeds of prostitution and engaging in prostitution

Officials have described  Yaping Ren (left) as a manager at the Rainbow Spa, which is located near downtown Orlando. A woman named Junhua Dong, 50 (right), of Vero Beach has also been charged with racketeering, deriving support from proceeds of prostitution and engaging in prostitution

The owners of East Spa & Massage and Rainbow Spa were also found to have paid for Backpage.com listings, which is a site known to advertise sex work. Both locations have been closed. Rainbow Spa near downtown Orlando is pictured

The owners of East Spa & Massage and Rainbow Spa were also found to have paid for Backpage.com listings, which is a site known to advertise sex work. Both locations have been closed. Rainbow Spa near downtown Orlando is pictured

The owners of East Spa & Massage and Rainbow Spa were also found to have paid for Backpage.com listings, which is a site known to advertise sex work. Both locations have been closed. Rainbow Spa near downtown Orlando is pictured

Officials have described Ren as a manager at the Rainbow Spa, which is located near downtown Orlando.

The owners of East Spa & Massage and Rainbow Spa were also found to have paid for Backpage.com listings, which is a site known to advertise sex work. Both locations have been closed.

At just those two locations, Vero Beach Police Department reported at least 140 sex acts being performed for money between November 30 and January 10.

Ma has been charged with deriving support from the proceeds of prostitution, engaging in prostitution and unlawful transportation for the purpose of prostitution. She also faces a racketeering charge. 

Ren has been charged with engaging in prostitution, deriving support from prostitution and racketeering. 

A woman named Junhua Dong, 50, of Vero Beach has also been charged with racketeering, deriving support from proceeds of prostitution and engaging in prostitution.

ADDITIONAL MASSAGE PARLOR LOCATIONS IMPLICATED IN FLORIDA 

Lixia Zhu, 48 (pictured) of Stuart and Ruimei Li, 48, of Jupiter have also been arrested and charged. Li and Zhu are accused of running implicated spas, with four in Marin County and one in Jupiter

Lixia Zhu, 48 (pictured) of Stuart and Ruimei Li, 48, of Jupiter have also been arrested and charged. Li and Zhu are accused of running implicated spas, with four in Marin County and one in Jupiter

Li (pictured) and Zhu are accused of running implicated spas, with four in Marin County and one in Jupiter

Li (pictured) and Zhu are accused of running implicated spas, with four in Marin County and one in Jupiter

Lixia Zhu, 48 (left), of Stuart, and Ruimei Li, 48 (right), of Jupiter, have also been arrested and charged. Li and Zhu are accused of running implicated spas, with four in Marin County and one in Jupiter

Another woman, Yan Xu, 51, of Sebastian has also been charged with racketeering, deriving support from proceeds of prostitution and engaging in prostitution

Another woman, Yan Xu, 51, of Sebastian has also been charged with racketeering, deriving support from proceeds of prostitution and engaging in prostitution

Another woman, Yan Xu, 51, of Sebastian has also been charged with racketeering, deriving support from proceeds of prostitution and engaging in prostitution

Li and Zhu are accused of running implicated spas, with four in Marin County and one in Jupiter. 

Another woman, Yan Xu, 51, of Sebastian has also been charged with racketeering, deriving support from proceeds of prostitution and engaging in prostitution.

The Indian River County Sheriff’s Office, Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Orlando Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security, and the 19th Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office worked together throughout this ongoing investigation.  

To report a tip or get help, the confidential National Human Trafficking Hotline is 1 (888) 373-7888. The hotline is available 24/7 and in more than 200 languages. 

Link hienalouca.com

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