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7 indicted in human trafficking ring involving Denver massage parlors

human trafficking suspects denver
Posted at 2:03 PM, Aug 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-21 11:47:19-04

DENVER — Authorities on Thursday announced the indictments of seven people in a human trafficking ring involving illegal massage parlors in Denver and Aurora.

The suspects are accused of trafficking women from China to engage in sexual acts with customers at the parlors, Denver District Attorney Beth McCann said at a news conference.

Three men and four women were indicted: Chen Liang Kuo, 45; Yi Ting Mo, 42; Manqui Xu, 57; Le Zhang, 46; Ying Guo, 49; Xiong Xie, 54; and Xuelin Chen, 33.

Xie and Guo are still wanted by authorities, and the others are in custody.

All seven were indicted on several counts in violation of Colorado's Organized Crime Control Act, accused of making millions of dollars through racketeering, pimping and prostitution, money laundering and tax evasion. The suspect used some of the profits from the massage parlors to fund illegal marijuana grow houses, officials said.

The investigation — deemed by authorities as "Bad Apple" — began in March 2019, McCan said, when the district attorney's office was contacted by the Manager of Tax and Licensing with the city of Aurora.

The Aurora official said illicit massage parlors that were shut down in Aurora might have reopened in Denver. Denver police and the district attorney's office began investigation the information and were led to the Denver Apple Spa.

The trafficking ring, McCann said, also involved the Tulip Spa, 21 Spa, Mojo Massage and Ocean Foot Massage.

“We believe that the defendants were hiding in plain sight as they trafficked women from China to engage in sex acts with customers of their massage businesses,” McCann said in a statement.

The case involved 14 victims, all women from China who were forced into prostitution at the parlors, investigators said.

Some of the women lived at the parlors, while others lived elsewhere, according to the indictment. They received a portion of the fees at the parlors, while the rest went to the suspects, the indictment said.

The suspects were in contact with people in China, though it did not appear someone in China was running the operation remotely, investigators said.

Metro Denver Crime Stoppers released more information Thursday about Xie and Guo, who remain wanted.

Xie's last known location was San Gabriel, Calif., and Guo's last location was Baton Rouge, La. Anyone with information about their whereabouts is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867 (STOP).