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Press Release

Four Arrested in Takedown of Prostitution, Human Trafficking Ring in Allegheny and Westmoreland Counties

March 22, 2019 | Topic: Criminal

Defendants operated the ring out of four Tokyo Massage parlors

HARRISBURG — Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced criminal charges against four individuals in connection with a prostitution and human trafficking operation being conducted out of multiple massage parlors in Westmoreland and Allegheny counties.

The first defendant, Hui Xu, owned and operated four Tokyo Massage Parlors where prostitution was occurring. Chang Yu Chen, a second player in the ring, would pick up young women at the bus stop travelling from Flushing, NY and transport them to the parlors. From May 2018 through October 2018, Chen was observed on seven occasions either transporting the young women from the bus stop to a parlor, or moving them from one parlor to another.

The third defendant, Huicun Wei, was the owner and manager at Judy’s Oriental Massage Parlor. She solicited customers at that location, offering sexual acts in exchange for money. Finally, fourth defendant Robert Delano Yerick transported victims from the bus stop to the massage parlors owned by Xu. He performed some odd job and maintenance duties outside the parlors, was a frequent patron of the parlors, and housed some of the young women, requiring them to have sex with him. The victims are originally from China and speak mainly Mandarin.

“These defendants ran a despicable human trafficking ring—exploiting women for their own profit and forcing them into prostitution,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “I won’t tolerate this type of treatment of fellow human beings, and taking down trafficking rings is a priority of my Office. We will continue to work with our state and local law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute these cases and put these criminals out of business.”

Hui Xu, of Shady Street, Mount Pleasant, PA; Huicun Wei, of Main Street, Flushing, NY; Chang Yu Chen, of Old William Penn Highway, Monroeville, PA; and Robert Delano Yerick, of Hillcrest Drive, Delmont, PA; are all charged with various counts including: conspiracy, corrupt organizations, trafficking in individuals, prostitution, and dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities.

The Pennsylvania State Police in coordination with local police departments led a detailed, months-long investigation to make this case. “The Pennsylvania State Police are committed to investigating individuals and criminal organizations involved in the trafficking of humans for financial gain,” said Captain Tom Dubovi. “This investigation shows that by working cooperatively with law enforcement and other partners, we can bring those who commit these heinous acts to justice.”

The investigation was initiated by the Officer of Attorney General, Pennsylvania State Police, Murrysville Police Department, and Monroeville Police Department in April 2018.

Criminal complaints were filed this morning and all defendants turned themselves in at District Justice Roger Eckels in Mount Pleasant, PA.  Preliminary hearings for all defendants are scheduled for April 12, 2019 at 9:30 am.  This case is being prosecuted by Senior Deputy Attorney General Katherine Wymard.

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