Suspected Prostitute Started Giving Glendale Detective "Hand Job" During Sting, Records State

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A Glendale police detective started getting a "hand job" from a suspected prostitute while engaging in a sting operation at a massage parlor, according to court records.

After the Arizona Attorney General's Office announced the raids and arrests of five Chinese suspects in the case, AG Mark Brnovich's spokeswoman, Mia Garcia, told New Times that no undercover officer involved engaged in a sex act.

Booking sheets submitted to Maricopa County Superior Court on Wednesday night suggest otherwise.

The incident involving the detective is reminiscent of a bungled 2003 investigation by Maricopa County Sheriff's Office posse members, at least one of whom had sex with a prostitute. The County Attorney at the time considered the case so tainted that he threw it out.

Ding Hengxia
Ding Hengxia
MCSO

As part of the recent investigation into a suspected long-running chain of brothels, an undercover detective went to the Shangri-La Spa at 6670 West Cactus Road about 1:30 p.m. on May 4 and met 55-year-old suspect Ding Hengxia.

The detective "paid Ding Hengxia the agreed $40 for the massage in cash," records state. He "met Ding Hengxia for a massage in the room and then Hengxia started the massage. Hengxia had [him] roll over and after doing so Hengxia began to masturbate (hand job) without solicitation or an agreed price. [The detective] left the business before the act could be consummated."

Police aren't allowed to expose themselves during sting operations, much less let a suspect even begin a sex act. 

This morning, after New Times read her the initial booking paperwork and asked Garcia about the apparent sex act, she said she would need to double-che

ck her information. She later said any comment on what happened in this particular case must come from the Glendale Police Department.

After repeated attempts to reach the department, spokeswoman Tracy Breeden responded to New Times in an e-mail that the information in the booking sheet about  the detective is "incorrect." She claimed someone from the AG's office wrote the report, not a Glendale officer.

The detective "never initiated a sex act, and no sex act was consummated," she writes.

The booking sheet, however, says the suspect initiated the "hand job" and that the act wasn't consummated, which could mean the act wasn't completed, not that it didn't happen.

New Times also asked if the officer disrobed or exposed himself. Breeden didn't respond to this in the e-mail.

Questions about the booking sheet should be directed to the AG's office, she wrote, contradicting Garcia's statement that Glendale police would answer questions.

Breeden didn't respond to multiple attempts to reach her for clarification of her e-mail.

Law-enforcement officials with the Arizona Financial Crimes Task Force conducted raids early Wednesday morning on six locations, including Shangri-La, Water Wood Massage in Scottsdale, Enjoy Massage in Glendale, and homes in Glendale and Phoenix.

Brnovich's office said five suspects, all Chinese nationals between 45 and 57 years old, were booked on charges of operating a house of prostitution, money laundering, and other felonies. Today, another suspect, Brian Groff, was booked into jail on similar charges.

The AG's office says the suspects have been operating since 2009, raking in millions of dollars. The money would be laundered by taking bulk cash on airplanes to China, then filtering it back into the United States through the banking system, Garcia says.

The five Chinese women not only helped run the criminal enterprise, Garcia says, but  engaged in prostitution with clients.

Court records show that detectives sometimes were asked to disrobe.

While investigating Hengxia, who police believe helped run the organization, Detective John McTernan entered the Shangri-La location, received a massage, then negotiated with Hengxia for a hand job for $40, in which Hengxia agreed. Detective McTernan left the business after the act was offered."

In April, Phoenix Detective Travis Kenney met Min Yu, 45, at Shangri-La and paid for a massage. Yu "agreed to perform a hand job (masturbation) for $80 during this massage," records state. "At this time, Detective Kenney was able to leave before the act was completed."

At Enjoy Massage in July, Kenney attempted to ask suspect Fengqin Ye, 57, if she performed "extras." But Ye kept asking Kenney to expose himself. He didn't, and left without any evidence of a crime, records state. As Kenney left, McTernan entered, and Ye asked McTernan to expose himself.

"Based on Det. McTernan's experience, Fengqin Ye is knowledgeable that law enforcement officers are not allowed to expose themselves, which mitigates Fengqin Ye's criminal activity," records state.

When the public learned of the indiscretions of Sheriff Arpaio's posse men after the 2003 prostitution sting, the case fell apart. Then-County Attorney Rick Romley refused to prosecute 60 suspects arrested in the sting.

Fengqin Ye
Fengqin Ye
MCSO
Min Yu
Min Yu
MCSO
Huiqin Dai
Huiqin Dai
MCSO
Brian Groff
Brian Groff
MCSO

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