IRVINE — Following a two-year investigation, a husband and wife team have been taken into custody to face charges of running a multi-million dollar prostitution ring.
Li Chen, 32, and Thanh Ly, 35, both of Temple City, were arrested following a Dec. 16 raid of apartments in Irvine and Pasadena that authorities believe were being used as houses of ill repute. The raid, conducted by Pasadena police and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, resulted in the arrests of two suspected prostitutes in Irvine and two more in Pasadena, none of whom were named.
An anonymous tip reportedly led to the investigation, which included a focus on an apartment in the Calypso Apartments in Irvine. Police believe about 25 women were rotated between the apartment locations and there was an initial fear that human trafficking was taking place.
Ly and Chen have both submitted not-guilty pleas to the charges of pimping and pandering and are being held on $2 million bail.
Authorities recovered thousands of dollars in cash and jewelry, and two cars, during the raid and the four prostitutes that were arrested received misdemeanor charges for prostitution.