Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial kick-off to the summer beach season for the many vacationers and other visitors who have waited patiently for warmer weather, but it can also be an anxious time...
MERRIMACK— Police are investigating a local massage parlor after its owners were arrested this week on sex trafficking charges out of New York.
Asian Massage, a business that opened about two weeks ago at 416 Daniel Webster Highway, is now being investigated by police for possibly promoting prostitution.
This past weekend, police arrested the married owners of the store — Zhan Wei Liu and Bo Xuan Zhang of 11A East Ridge Road — on fugitive from justice charges stemming out of New York.
According to court documents, the couple is facing several charges, including two counts of sex trafficking, conspiracy, two counts of falsifying business records, promoting prostitution and two counts of money laundering.
Local police were helping the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office in New York to locate the couple.
“I had previously received a photo of the two parties to assist in identifying them,” Sgt. Joseph Goodridge wrote in a police affidavit on file at the 9th Circuit Court, Merrimack District Division.
Goodridge, along with Lt. Denise Roy, were conducting surveillance around 9 a.m. on Saturday when they located Liu and Zhang, 30 and 33 respectively, leaving their apartment and entering a Nissan SUV with a Texas license plate.
After following the vehicle, patrol officers stopped the man and woman and took them into custody, according to court records.
Neither has any prior arrests, according to court documents, adding they both are living in the United States with a green card. They have been residing in Merrimack for about two months, and previously lived at 8637 5th Avenue in Brooklyn, N.Y., according to court records.
They were arraigned on Monday with the help of an interpreter, at which time Judge Gregory Michael set their bail at $500,000 cash. The couple signed a waiver of extradition, and is scheduled to be back in Merrimack court on Sept. 19 for a probable cause hearing.
In addition to the sex trafficking charges out of New York, Merrimack police said Liu and Zhang’s new massage parlor in Merrimack is being investigated for similar offenses.
“Evidence was recovered at the business, and both the New York City authorities and Merrimack police are continuing their investigations,” police said in a release, not elaborating on what type of evidence was discovered.