Police said the sweeps follow more than a month of investigations and were prompted by complaints of prostitution. They also did some research online. "A lot these businesses advertise online and you can find out what they're doing just by checking out a variety of websites," said Corporal Vince Weibert with the Clovis Police Department.
By the end of the day, six women had been arrested: 40 year old /*Qui Wu*/, 37 year old /*Uvoniat Lucas*/, 59 year old /*Maoli Tian*/, 33 year old /*Pitchaya Talley*/, 44 year old /*Mei Zhang*/, and 61 year old /*Buachan Hatfield*/. All six face charges of soliciting sex acts for money.
Three of the businesses targeted are located near Old Town Clovis. Where news of the arrests left residents stunned. "It's just really shocking cause to know it happens in your own backyard. To me it's just really shocking... I wouldn't expect this to happen," said Sherry Pascoe.
Building and fire inspectors also participated in Tuesday's sweep to look for building modifications that could pose safety hazards. Authorities are also hoping those citations will help hold business owners accountable and not just their employees.
Police said the number of massage businesses in the city has grown significantly in the past few years. It's a possibility that growth could be attributed to the city of Fresno's crackdown on prostitution. "I do know that Fresno police have stepped has stepped up its enforcement of this sort of activity and we're responding as well to ensure that people who engage in this kind of crime don't think that Clovis is a safe place to come to ply their trade," said Corporal Weibert.
At the end of it all, Weibert said Tuesday's sweep was just the beginning. He said we can all expect to see more of these types of operations in the future.