Crime

Southlake restaurant linked to alleged illegal activities at Dallas spa, police say

A popular Southlake Chinese restaurant is tied to alleged illegal activities at a Dallas massage business that has been shut down, according to Dallas police.

A search warrant was executed Wednesday at the Dragon House in Southlake, which Dallas police say is directly linked to owners and management of Jade Spa in Dallas.

Several officials at Jade Spa are accused of prostitution and engaging in organized criminal activity. Authorities also believe officials at Jade Spa were involved in sex trafficking.

Dallas police Major Max Geron said operations like the one in Dallas are difficult to uncover because they don’t stand out.

“It may look like an abandoned building,” Geron said in a Thursday afternoon news conference in Dallas. “But these operators keep it to themselves. Customers keep it quiet. It’s not like a violent crime.”

Dallas police say the Dragon House restaurant in Southlake is financially linked to the alleged illegal activities at Jade Spa.

“The restaurant paid bills to accounts on behalf of the spa,” Geron said.

Officials at Dragon House, which is in the 2600 block of E. Southlake Blvd, could not be reached Thursday for comment, and they’ve posted on their website that the restaurant is temporarily closed.

In addition to the Dragon House, Dallas police and other area officers executed search warrants on Wednesday in Grapevine, Carrollton, Dallas, Arlington and Irving.

Geron said some of the locations were homes.

Warrants were executed at several North Texas banks, and about $370,000 related to the operation was seized and/or frozen. Five vehicles were confiscated along with several weapons at various North Texas locations, authorities said.

Authorities also executed arrest warrants for people involved in the financing and operation of Jade Spa in Dallas. The people arrested were Unlu Gurpinar, 64; Chung Shendelman, 62; Yong Suk Brown, 61; Yong Bei-Wang-Murphy, 51; Jae Jasmin Lee, 48; and Sangchan Byun, 41.

Three additional suspects remain at large, Dallas police said.

At least six people were detained by police at the search warrant locations, and authorities were working to identify them and offer support to those found to be victims of trafficking. Of the six, most were Asian women, Dallas police said.

Dallas city attorneys have obtained a temporary restraining order to keep Jade Spa from reopening as the Dallas city officials have revoked the business’s certificate of occupancy.

The search and arrest warrants this week stemmed from a Dallas police investigation of the Jade Spa, 2006 Market Center in Dallas, in February. Detectives determined prostitution was taking place inside of the business and surveillance indicated the possibility of sex trafficking.

For the next several months, detectives expanded their investigation to identify the investors, owners and operators of the Dallas business.

Dragon House is a popular Chinese restaurant in Southlake, according to Yelp, which gave it a four-star rating while praising the dumplings.

Officials at Dragon House announced they are temporarily closed, according to the Dragon House website. The Yelp website says Dragon House is scheduled to reopen on Nov. 30.

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