Police say they busted a prostitution ring in Austin, Texas, thanks to the discovery of hundreds of condoms stuck inside a waste drain at a massage parlor.
Tenants who shared the property with Jade Massage Therapy LLC told police on Feb. 7 they believed there was prostitution going on in the building, reports the Statesman. Around that time, police learned about an industrial disposal unit that was destroyed by the mass of condoms. The condoms had reportedly clogged drains from the building.
The evidence eventually led police to Juan Wang and her husband, Joseph Emery, the owners of the business. They both face charges of money laundering and engaging in organized criminal activity.
“I was like, ‘you’ve got to be kidding me,’” said Austin police Human Trafficking and Vice Unit Sgt. Kevin Covington. “It’s not the normal tip you would get, or lead you would get on a place committing criminal activity, but it happened, so that helped us out.”
Officials later learned that Wang’s phone number was connected to a sexual massage services listing at a second address on Backpage.com. Backpage.com is a classified advertising website sometimes used to offer prostitution services and sex trafficking.
Police then obtained a search warrant and visited the location on March 22, where they found Wang in a room with a naked man. They also found another woman with another naked man in a separate area of the same building.
Police found more than $60,000 in cash on the premises and arrested Wang and Emery around that time, notes Reuters.
Investigators had their eye on Wang before learning about the clogged drains. Two days before the tip, airport security stopped Wang before she boarded a flight from Austin to China. She was carrying multiple bundles of cash wrapped in duct tape, totaling $30,000, according to the Statesman.
She told officers that she was going to have a medical procedure done in China and had saved the money that came from Jade Massage, although she said that she only made $20,000 per year working there.
“When [an officer] pointed out that she was carrying in excess of a year’s worth of income Wang became visibly nervous and had difficulty answering further questions,” the affidavit said.
Ultimately, officers let her onto the plane but took down her contact information, including the phone number they later learned was associated with the Backpage.com listing.
Police then had enough information to make the arrests.