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New Port Richey Police raid massage parlor, make prostitution arrest

Lian Jin Jin, 51, an employee at Miyako Spa at 4962 U.S. 19 in New Port Richey, was arrested Friday afternoon on a prostitution charge.

BRENDAN FITTERER | Times

Lian Jin Jin, 51, an employee at Miyako Spa at 4962 U.S. 19 in New Port Richey, was arrested Friday afternoon on a prostitution charge.

NEW PORT RICHEY — Marianne Brewer said she saw girls in the window of the massage parlor next door wearing only slips. That was suspicious, she said. And then she noticed all of the customers of Miyako Spa were men.

"These guys, they go in there for hours and they leave all happy with big smiles on their faces," said Brewer, a stylist at Hot Heads Hair Salon next door to the massage spa. "I mean, come on."

The New Port Richey Police Department got a tip a few weeks ago alleging prostitution and possible human trafficking at Miyako Spa. The workers are Asian and some, police heard, might be forced to work against their will.

An undercover officer entered the spa and was offered sex, said New Port Richey police Chief James Steffens.

Officers raided the spa Friday afternoon. Two workers were at the business during the time of the raid. One worker, Lian Jin Jin, 51, was arrested and charged with solicitation of prostitution. The other woman was being questioned.

Steffens said the agency is trying to verify if the women are working at the spa voluntarily. He said both women spoke English well enough to not need translators.

"It's still early in the investigation," Steffens said.

The operator of the spa, Stephen Chellis, 56, was cited for being in violation of the city's highway commercial zoning law because some of the workers appeared to be living at the spa, Steffens said.

The spa, which advertises on its window front that it helps relieve stress, had been in trouble with the law previously. Steffens said officers raided the business in 2007 and three women were arrested on prostitution charges and operating a massage business without a license.

Erin Sullivan can be reached at esullivan@tampabay.com or (727) 869-6229.

New Port Richey Police raid massage parlor, make prostitution arrest 04/27/12 [Last modified: Friday, April 27, 2012 9:00pm]
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