A prostitution sting at nine North County day spas and acupuncture clinics netted two dozen arrests Wednesday, 22 women and two men were taken into custody and cash was confiscated, deputies said.
"This is the first time I have heard of something of this magnitude happening in the city of Vista,” Lt. Phil Brust said
In the past few months, the Sheriff's Department has received numerous complaints against the spas. The city's licensing department also saw their numbers jump.
“We noticed an increase in the women applying for massage licenses,” City Attorney Darold Piper said.
Among other things, the women who are 33 to 55 years-old, are charged with prostitution, illegal touching and violating health and safety codes. Two were taken into custody by ICE, suspected of being illegal immigrants.
The spas in question are now closed and people who work nearby are not surprised.
“We would be suspicious because they would close at ten o'clock at night we honestly saw a lot of men coming in there,” Cynthia Guerra said.
None of the businesses had permits with the department of health and safety, according to deputies. Two of the day spas have been busted for prostitution before and investigators said their penalty will be more severe than the others.
Six women were booked into the Vista County Jail, 18 others were cited and released, but will go to court and could also face time behind bars, investigators said.