An Owensboro massage business is the center of an investigation that put four people behind bars.
Owensboro Police along with Daviess Co. Sheriff’s Department, FBI, and Dept. of Labor acted on search warrants Tuesday after receiving complaints of suspected prostitution at Relaxing Touch Massage.
Investigators recovered more than $130,000 in cash and four people involved in the business were arrested. OPD tells us Mo Li, Li Shengwu, Jingjie Yuan, Yong Liu are all charged with promoting prostitution. Li is also charged with tampering with evidence.
“I was wondering what was happening,” says Hugh Harris, who saw the police cars outside a home on the 2500 block of West 9th St. Tuesday morning. It was something he hadn’t seen near his home in his more than fifty years of living there.
“I just came down through here and saw a lot of police cars and a lot of people standing around, and saw people standing around, and saw people going in and out of that house there, but I didn’t know what was going around,” he said.
The house police searched was one of two homes and two businesses, searched by investigators Tuesday morning, leading to the arrests. The four are accused of promoting prostitution from their business, Relaxing Touch Massage, at its locations on Frederica Street and Towne Square Mall.
“I was surprised because I didn’t know whether this was going on in Owensboro or not,” Harris says.
“We don’t want to see this type of activity at all in Owenbsoro,” adds Officer Michael Hathaway of Owensboro Police Dept.
Investigators started surveillance after getting complaints last May. Police say the FBI and agents with the Department of Labor got involved after suspicions of human trafficking arose.
“We weren’t sure if the persons involved with this type of activity were doing it willingly or not. So, of course, we asked the FBI and the Department of Labor to get involved with the investigation. But as it turns out, as of yesterday, we were able to only charge promoting of prostitution,” says Hathaway.
Police say they’re still looking in to possibility that more people were involved in the alleged promotion of prostitution.