ICPD cracked case involving sex trafficking
IMLAY CITY — One of two suspects in an alleged massage parlor operation in Imlay City has passed away.
Police Chief Brett Selby said Anthony Joseph Juip recently passed away, leaving one other suspect to face court action in the 2022 case.
According to a published report at the time of the police investigation, a man and woman were arrested after police say they operated massage parlors as a front for a prostitution ring in Lapeer County.
According to the Imlay City Police Department, Juip, who was 73 at the time of his passing, and his wife Qing Feng Xu, 58, were charged with conducting a criminal enterprise and keeping a house of prostitution.
Chief Brett Selby said in a press release Tuesday that police spent five months investigating the couple’s business on N. Cedar St. in Imlay City for an exterior ordinance violation and the legitimacy through city ordinance.
Chief Selby noted, “Due to an alarming set of facts, undercover officers were sent into the massage parlor and discovered potential human trafficking and forced sex trafficking.”
Police executed search warrants at the location in August of 2022, along with a location on Lake Nepessing Road in Lapeer.
According to reports, police say four Chinese women with work visas were found living in Imlay City and employed by Juip and Xu. Those women were taken into custody and provided with victim assistance pending further investigation.
Chief Selby, in the press release said further investigation revealed several women “from out of town have been rotated in and out of these businesses over the course of the past year.”
The Chief pointed out the majority of the clientele visiting the businesses were from out of town and drove to the city from 40 to 50 minutes away.
Chief Selby said in the report, “The dismantling of this criminal enterprise by this police department should send a clear message to anyone that the Imlay City Police Department and the people of Lapeer County will not allow bad actors to exploit vulnerable individuals for profit through prostitution and human trafficking.”
According to Chief Selby, both Juip and Xu were lodged in jail at the time of the incident and were bonded out shortly after. Both were awaiting a scheduled court date November 6.
According to Chief Selby, Xu is an illegal alien living in the U.S., on an expired work visa. She is still free on bond until her next court appearance.