A White Bear Lake woman was convicted Jan. 13 on six felony counts for her role in promoting prostitution using a business in Woodbury.
According to a statement from Washington County Attorney Pete Orput, a jury took less than an hour to convict Shuxin Lan, 52, of the charges. They stem from two massage parlors run by Lan, including Woodbury Wellness and the Orchid Spa in White Bear Lake.
The charges against Lan include promoting the prostitution of an individual, engaging in the sex trafficking of an individual, and receiving profits from prostitution.
The convictions are part of an investigation that was launched August 2017 by the East Metro Sex Trafficking task force. At that time, Woodbury detective Paul Kroshus noted a business known as Woodbury Wellness advertised on Backpage.com, a now-defunct website that police said was often used for sex trafficking.
The case was tried in the 10th District Court before Judge Richard Ilkka. It was prosecuted by Washington County Attorney and EMSTTF Director Imran Ali.
According to the criminal complaint:
Woodbury Wellness was listed under the massage section, and showed pictures of four women in front of and inside the business. The site also included reviews of the business by patrons, who said they got a “happy ending,” that the women giving the massages were nude and that they touched each other sexually during the massage.
The task force conducted surveillance of Woodbury Wellness from July to September. They saw a steady flow of male customers and at least two women who seemed to be living inside the business. Police also observed Lan picking up women from Woodbury Wellness. Police said Lan would then bring them to stay at her home and bring them back to the parlors the next morning.
Police executed search warrants on Woodbury Wellness Sept. 11, 2018. They located and arrested Lan at the bank trying to deposit over $7,000 cash.
The city of Woodbury licensed the massage parlor in May 2017, as state statute requires all massage therapy businesses.
The task force includes members from the Woodbury Department of Public Safety, Oakdale Police Department, Washington County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations.