Two women are accused of opening up illegal massage parlors in neighborhoods across the Carolinas.
The investigation started in Winston-Salem and led Homeland Security to bust massage parlors all over our area. Their locations span from Indian Trail to Rock Hill to Gastonia.
One of those locations is a home in Rock Hill on Saluda Street. At first glance, it may look like an ordinary house, but investigators said what was happening inside was not normal at all.
One neighbor told Channel 9′s Ken Lemon she suspected something wasn’t right, but she was stunned when Lemon told her police and Homeland Security believe the home was part of a criminal enterprise.
“This is one of those things you don’t expect to happen next door,” said Amy Cheever.
Cheever said there was a family living in the house next door, which is now vacant. But about two weeks ago, police and federal officers say they busted an illicit massage parlor at the home.
The details stunned Cheever.
“Disgusting, terrifying, surprising,” she said.
Investigators said that parlor wasn’t the only one. Seven woman are facing charges in a prostitution sting, reportedly operating out of eight parlors in North and South Carolina. Six of them are in the Channel 9 viewing area.
Cheever said she suspected something was off when she said someone put up a massage parlor poster and strangers started visiting the house.
“Fancy cars, some different, every day,” she said.
Police said the operators had a parlor in Indian Land. Chopper 9 Skyzoom flew over it Tuesday. And in Gastonia, people recognized one of the women arrested at a spa on Garrison Boulevard in Gastonia, and they feared people were living there too.
Investigators said all the locations were raised, though Cheever said she never saw police on Saluda Street.
“Shock, just really shocked,” she said.
Cheever said people have gone by the house since police made an arrest in Rock Hill. The signs that were there are gone, and investigators and neighbors hope any trouble that might have been there before is gone too.
The two women accused of operating the parlors have been identified as: Li Huang, 49, and Chongmei Wei, 59.
Huang was arrested and charged with felony promoting prostitution and felony continuing a criminal enterprise. She was given a $15,000 bond. Wei has outstanding arrest warrants for promoting prostitution and continuing a criminal enterprise.
(WATCH BELOW: Six people cited in York Co. prostitution, human trafficking investigation, deputies say)
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