Thursday, April 13, 2006

California Woman Arrested in Brothel Bust

In an article posted today in the Contra Costa Times, the Associated Press reports:
A Southern California woman was in custody in Texas on Wednesday on charges of operating brothels in Dallas and the Los Angeles area using women smuggled into the country from South Korea and Mexico.

Jong Ock Mao, 47, of West Covina, was arrested Tuesday in Madisonville, Texas, after a 40-count indictment was unsealed in Santa Ana federal court accusing her and three others of conspiracy, money laundering and violating the Travel Act, a federal law that prohibits the use of interstate facilities to conduct illegal business.

Federal agents raided six businesses, including tanning salons, chiropractic offices and spas, that authorities said were fronts for brothels. There were between three and 18 women working in each of brothels, and many were prostituting to pay off smuggling fees, said Buckley Thomas, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigator.

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