During the months of September 2011 through January 2012, the Montgomery County Police – Vice and Intelligence Unit conducted a long-term investigation into a series of alleged prostitution brothels operating in the county under the guise of acupressure and massage establishments. The investigation had been initiated when detectives noted a dramatic increase in the number of acupressure and massage parlor advertisements in the adult section of internet sites that cater to adult services. In addition, the Montgomery County Police Department received numerous complaints from residents about the illegal operation of these businesses. The investigation resulted in four business owners being arrested for involvement in human trafficking and prostitution. Six such establishments were closed.
In October 2013, the Vice and Intelligence Unit was again alerted to an increased number of suspicious spa advertisements on the Internet and again began receiving resident complaints. Detectives re-initiated a series of investigations in an attempt to eliminate the unlicensed spas. These latest investigations have resulted in numerous establishments being closed for a variety of reasons including criminal activities and permitting violations. Among the establishments that have been closed are:
- Traditional Wellness – 9867 Main Street in Damascus
- Green Apple Massage – 350C Christopher Avenue in Gaithersburg
- Sunshine Day Spa – 615 S. Frederick Avenue, Unit B5 in Gaithersburg
- Soothing Care Spa – 849C Quince Orchard Boulevard in Gaithersburg
- Massage Spring Spa – 11630 Rockville Pike in Rockville
- Best Spa – 11625 Nebel Street in Rockville
- Massage Center – 589 West Deer Park Road in Gaithersburg
- LA Nails – 4928 St. Elmo Avenue in Bethesda
Several individuals associated with the above establishments have been charged via district court summons for providing massage therapy without a license. Other individuals have been charged civilly via the Department of Permitting Services with violations of use and occupancy permits.
The Montgomery County Police Department continues to work with the county’s Department of Licensing, Department of Permitting Services, and Department of Health and Human Services, as well as the Maryland Board of Chiropractors, to combat these illegal establishments.
Detectives continue to investigate cases of illegal massage parlors and spas. Anyone with information about illegal activity at massage businesses and spas in Montgomery County is asked to call the Vice and Intelligence Unit at 240-773-5958.