Human trafficking ring operation leads to 2 Chico arrests

Massage parlors in Shasta, Tehama and Butte Counties were targeted in a human trafficking investigation led by the Anderson Police Department.

Posted: Mar 24, 2020 3:49 PM
Updated: Mar 25, 2020 5:27 AM

ANDERSON, Calif. - A human trafficking ring that spanned three North State counties was busted by a collaborating group of law enforcement officials leading to the arrest to two Chico residents. The operation was called "Operation Broken Promise."

Officials from the Anderson Police Department told Action News Now Tuesday that they were notified in early 2019 that unusual behavior was observed at the Relax Chinese Massage, a business that had just opened in the City of Anderson.

Police looked into the citizen complaint and uncovered an operation where multiple women were expected to perform sex acts for money and were being forced to live in massage parlors in Shasta, Tehama and Butte Counties.

The two people arrested are 51-year-old Rui Wang and 47-year-old Junhua Wu, both of Chico. Anderson Police officials said Tuesday the two are believed by them to be the heads of the criminal enterprise.

Wang and Wu are currently housed in the Butte County Jail are awaiting extradition to Shasta County. Their charges include four counts of pimping, one count of pandering, and fifty-three counts of money laundering. They currently have a bail amount set at one million dollars.

Investigators said they believe that Rui Wang and Junhua Wu managed and profited from eight various illicit massage parlors spanning between Redding, Anderson, Red Bluff, Chico, and Oroville.

Here is a list of massage parlors where search warrants were served on Monday. Forty law enforcement officers from seven different agencies served nine search warrants.

Shasta County

Relax With a Massage, located at 105 Hartnell Avenue in Redding

Chinese Massage, located at 1556 Hartnell Avenue in Redding

Relaxation Massage, located at 908 Hartnell Avenue in Redding

Relax Massage, located at 3090 West Center St. in Redding

The location searched in Tehama County was the Flower Massage, located at 108 Main Street in Red Bluff.

Butte County

Relax Massage, located at 1353 Feather River Blvd. in Oroville

Relax Massage, located at 1194 East Lassen Avenue in Chico

Relax Massage, located at 166 Cohasset Road in Chico

Also, warrants were served at the residence of the suspects, Rui Wang and Junhua Wu of Chico.

The officers encountered the two suspects, six victims, and three would be-customers throughout the operation.

Rui Wang and Junhua Wu were located in Butte County at the very beginning of the operation. They were interviewed at a local law enforcement agency and provided statements to investigators. Both suspects were offered immediate extradition to Shasta County, but both declined, according to officers.

Wang and Wu were booked into the Butte County Jail on their felony warrants, where they will remain until extradition procedures begin.

The goal of "Operation Broken Promise" was to target the traffickers associated with this operation and rescue the women who have been forced, coerced, or defrauded into modern-day sexual slavery. Participating law enforcement said they wanted to make sure the victims were provided with resources to help them take control of their own lives.

The Anderson Police Department extended their thanks to the Shasta County District Attorney Office for the resources they provided for this investigation and to the State Franchise Tax Board for conducting a parallel investigation revealing what is being called "significant" evidence of these suspect’s money laundering activities.

The Redding Police Department, Shasta County Sheriff’s Office, Red Bluff Police Department, and Chico California Highway Patrol  Office were also thanked for providing personnel for the operation.

Anderson Police also thanked DA Advocates, My Sister’s House in Sacramento, the Northern California Anti-Trafficking Coalition. Shasta Pizza Company, Kaleidoscope Coffee, and Reign energy drink for donations of food and drinks for the victims and officers that were involved in the investigation.

This operation could not have been completed without assistance from over twenty non-sworn support staff, Anderson Police officers said. This included Community Service Officers, Cadets, Victim Advocates, and a team of in-person and available phone translators.

A Victim Center was established for the women who were found in the massage parlors. The women were transported there to meet with victim advocates and a translator. The victims were offered such services as housing, relocation, health screenings, and immigration assistance. The victims were housed locally overnight are continuing to meet with victim advocates on Wednesday.

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