Vice Detective ran an interstate prostitution ring after his retirement

A former San Diego Police Department assistant detective has pleaded guilty to running multiple brothels in California and Arizona that doubled as massage parlors.

On Tuesday, 78-year-old Peter Griffin and three co-defendants admitted they ran the prostitution ring for nearly 10 years. From 2013 to last August, the defendants operated Genie Oriental, Felicita, Blue Green, Maple, and Massage W spas, all located near San Diego, California, and Tempe, Arizona. Although these “spas” appeared to be legitimate massage companies, Griffin and his associates — Kyung Sook Hernandez, 58, Yu Hong Tan, 56, and Yoo Jin Ott, 46 — hired women to perform sexual services there.

The defendants advertised their businesses on websites “known to promote commercial sex.” CBS News reported and then found potential prostitutes from the same websites. Then they rented apartments to house the prostitutes, at least one of whom was likely a Chinese immigrant. “Leave [your] Morality in China”, a prostitute is said to have been told, and “make the customers happy”.

Although four people were involved in the illegal sex program, the main focus was Griffin, who spent nearly 30 years with the SDPD from 1975 until his retirement in 2002. At least part of that time, Griffin worked as a member of the Vice Operations Unit, gaining knowledge and experience that he then used to circumvent the legal system.

“Peter Griffin abused the expertise gained during his time as a Deputy Detective and abused the respect that came with his badge – all to ensure his ‘massage parlors’ operated under the radar for his personal financial gain,” the assistant attorney general said Kenneth A Polite, Jr.

Last but not least, prosecutors claim, Griffin should have known the damage such prostitution shops can wreak on the local community and on the vulnerable women who work there.

“The defendant — a former assistant detective who once took an oath to uphold our laws — knew better than most that illegal massage companies cruelly profit from exploiting women for commercial sex,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke said. “We are committed to prosecuting the owners of these illegal businesses and educating the places where sexual exploitation and human trafficking persist.”

Griffin pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the Interstate Travel in Aid of Racketeering Act, conspiracy to wire fraud and money laundering and faces up to 30 years in prison. He is due to be sentenced on July 7.

The other defendants have pleaded guilty to one felony and face three years. Her judgment dates are unknown.

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