HOUSTON (KTRK) --Stacks and stacks of cash, designer purses like Prada, Chanel, and Gucci, are among a large haul of evidence by investigators who busted a north Harris County Spa today.
The Hana Top Spa is now shuttered, and its owner Ying Wen charged with money laundering. In total, $24,000 in cash and about a dozen designer handbags were seized.
Unfortunately, the Harris County District Attorney's Office and Sheriffs Department say the raids are all too common. Hana Spa had been raided before. The business was recently robbed, and some of the women inside were sexually assaulted.
"It's demand," said Captain Tim Navarre of the Harris County Sheriff's Department. "There's a high demand along that (FM 1960) corridor, if there wasn't a demand they wouldn't be there.
But what makes this bust today unique is that for the first time, prosecutors were able to charge Wen with the more serious crime of felony money laundering. Previously, she had only misdomeaner charges in other busts. The hope is to shut down this spa permanently.
"Who wants to live near a brothel," said District Attorney Devon Anderson. "Who wants to live near a place where people are gambling, and there's a bunch of cash. These are crime magnets."
Three women who worked and lived at the spa were not arrested. Investigators believe they are trafficking victims, and will refer the women to local service agencies for help.