VISTA — An undercover prostitution operation at a massage parlor last month resulted in the arrest of one male and five females, who are all Chinese nationals, according to sheriff’s officials.
For the past several months, law enforcement with the North County Prostitution/Human Trafficking Task Force had investigated allegations of prostitution at Asia ACU Pressure at 1011 South Santa Fe Ave., which is in a strip mall in front of a Vista post office.
Investigation into businesses offering prostitution is not new to Vista, and this one comes nearly 18 months after nine businesses were forced to close for the illegal sex acts that were alleged to take place inside.
The sheriff’s investigations began again after receiving anonymous calls alleging prostitution activity at the acupressure place on South Santa Fe Ave., along with reports from the public that a large number of males were visiting the location each night, said sheriff’s Sgt. Joe Mata.
On Nov. 23, the proprietor of the business, Suhua Qiu, 47, was arrested and cited for unlawful advertisement, allowing unlicensed massage therapists to perform massages, having locks and peep holes on massage room doors and for an operator violation, accord to officials.
Five women who worked there were also arrested and each cited for being unlicensed masseuses.
“They had a license for a massage establishment but none of the girls were licensed masseuses,” Mata said.
The women ranged in ages from 30 to 50, and other city violations some of them were cited for include illegal touching and failure to cover a client.
Asia ACU Pressure received a business license from the city in March 2009, according to Andrea McCullough, communications officer with Vista.
But Mata said that Asia ACU Pressure had changed from an acupressure establishment to a full-blown massage parlor.
“If you walk into the place, there’s no license on the wall. There’s no massage certificates on the wall,” he said.
Another thing that aroused suspicions about the business was that its services were advertised on Craigslist, according to Mata.
“A massage parlor usually doesn’t advertise on Craigslist,” he said.
On Dec. 3, the ad was still posted online that offered “oriental massage” and that the location was open daily until 10 p.m. and accepted walk-ins. It listed different types of massages, a private room, prices, the address and phone number. The ad also included a picture of a woman.
But the blinds on the windows of Asia ACU Pressure are now closed while investigators continue their investigation.
During the operation that led to the six arrests, a high volume of male clients arrived at the acupressure place between 5 and 8 p.m. in search of a masseuse, according to sheriff’s reports.
While law enforcement officials were inside the location, many of the male clients appeared nervous at the sight of the law enforcement personnel, according to Mata.
The investigators had to shut the lights off and lock the doors to complete their investigation, due to the amount of people coming inside.
Mata said that 30 people were processed and interviewed.
None of the people arrested were booked into jail, but cited and released.
They will see a judge at the Vista courthouse within 30 days of their arrest.
Last June, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Vista Station conducted a large-scale operation that identified nine businesses in the city as potential targets of illegal prostitution activity.
The businesses were acupuncture and day spa establishments that were accompanied by a large number of permit applications for massage therapists.
During that operation, 26 Chinese nationals were arrested for acts of prostitution, with 24 of them being women, according to sheriff’s officials.
All nine businesses were shut down as a result of the operation.