Saturday, April 07, 2001

Middletown police seek FBI assist after raid

By Sheila McLaughlin
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MIDDLETOWN — Police here are asking the FBI to help determine whether two massage parlors raided this week were involved in an interstate sex ring.

        The decision to broaden the scope came after a three-month investigation into VIP Oriental Spa, 3500 block of Commerce Drive, and Clover Spa, 3900 block of Roosevelt Boulevard, Sgt. Scott Reeve of the special operations unit said Friday.

        Police began investigating the businesses in January after observing suspicious activity and hearing they offered more than rubdowns, Sgt. Reeve said. Police say undercover officers were offered sex on seven occasions.

        Three women were arrested Tuesday when police served search warrants alleging the businesses were engaging in prostitution.

        “This is huge,” said Sgt. Reeve, noting that the seven Korean women questioned in the case came from various cities around the country.

        At least five of the women told police they entered the United States after marrying U.S. servicemen stationed in Korea, Sgt. Reeve said.

        “The businesses stay in one location,” he said. “When the girls get in trouble, then they move the girls out.” Middletown police are trying to identify the owner of VIP through newspaper advertising records, and Sgt. Reeve said police were close to a fourth arrest.

        VIP was open for about nine months and advertised in The Cincinnati Enquirer, Sgt. Reeve said. He was unsure when Clover opened.

        Charged and jailed on misdemeanor prostitution charges Tuesday were VIP employees Yon I. Cantrell, 50, of Albuquerque, N.M., and Un Pom Grabski, 45, of Atlanta. Hesung Young, 39, of North Ridge, Calif., is charged with promoting prostitution at Clover. All three posted cash bonds and were released from jail.


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