Howard County vice and narcotics detectives raided an Ellicott City tanning spa Thursday night, charging three women with prostitution after finding two of them engaged in sex, police said.
The other woman was charged in an arrest warrant with having sex with a county police informant twice in April, court documents showed.
The raid began about 9 p.m. Thursday as detectives and agents from the FBI and the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service entered Miami Spa Tanning and Salon in the Malabar Plaza in the 9200 block of Baltimore National Pike, police said.
Once inside the second-floor establishment, detectives saw two women having sex with male customers in separate rooms, said Detective Michael Sherman, a county police spokesman.
Lee Ho Son, 27, Che Sook Cha, 28, and Eun Ok Han, 25, who was charged in the arrest warrant, all were charged with prostitution, court documents said. The women have no fixed addresses and were being held yesterday in lieu of $10,000 bond at the Howard County Detention Center, a correctional officer said.
Neither of the men the women had sex with during the raid was arrested or charged, police said. One man was a police informant, who paid $100 to have sex, court records showed.
Investigators recovered about 100 condoms, and about $10,000, during the raid. The men said they paid between $100 and $140.
Yesterday afternoon, a woman at the dimly lighted spa was packing clothes into a bag. The woman would not give her name and said she knew nothing about the raid. She said the business was closed for cleaning and would reopen Monday.
Police investigators said they did not know the name of the owner of the business.
The raid came after several months of citizen complaints about questionable acts inside the business, Mr. Sherman said.
Spokesmen from the FBI and INS could not be reached for comment last night.
Three years ago, a woman was charged with prostitution at Miami Spa, which is now one of six Asian massage spas in Howard County.
On Jan. 25, 1992, police charged two women with prostitution inside the Tokyo Spa at 7060 Oakland Mills Road in Columbia. Charges were dropped in August against one woman, after the prosecution's key witness failed to testify. The other woman was placed on six months' unsupervised probation, given probation before judgment and ordered to undergo AIDS testing.