Law enforcement officials are exposing a sex-trafficking ring that allegedly counted politicians, military brass, Big Tech, and Big Pharma executives as “customers.” According to the U.S. attorney’s office for the district of Massachusetts, three men were arrested last week for reportedly operating a network of high-end, expensive, exclusive brothels, catering to the elite of Boston and Washington, D.C.
Acting U.S. Attorney Joshua Levy said in a press conference that defendants Han Lee, James Lee, and Junmyung Lee (no known relation) were specifically “catering to a wealthy and well-connected clientele” in Cambridge and Waterford, Massachusetts, and Fairfax and Tysons, Virginia, just outside D.C. Levy added, “This commercial sex ring was built on secrecy and exclusivity.”
According to the press release from Levy’s office, the trio were charged with “conspiracy to coerce and entice to travel to engage in illegal sexual activity.” While James Lee would allegedly rent luxury apartments to use as brothels — some costing over $3,600 per month — Han and Junmyung are accused of recruiting girls from California, Nevada, and Virginia to become prostitutes. The pair would then arrange for the girls to travel to Boston or D.C., where they were advertised online using codewords like “coming soon” or “open.”
Potential “customers” went through an extensive vetting and verification process, which included providing full names, personal phone numbers, email addresses, and even references and photocopies of drivers’ licenses. The brothel-runners started their pricing at $350 per hour and would reportedly text “customers” a “menu,” featuring girls and sex acts to choose from, as well as directions to the upscale apartments-turned-brothels.
In an affidavit for the charges against the brothel-runners, Homeland Security Investigations agent Zachary Mitlitsky described how confidential informants, cell phone tracking, and even digging through trash for flight records eventually led to the arrest of the three Lees. The affidavit alleges that Han Lee maintained the brothels outside D.C., and he and Junmyung Lee maintained the brothels outside Boston together, which included convincing girls to spend extended periods of time in the apartments free of charge, as a means of encouraging women to become prostitutes and delivering groceries to the girls in the apartments. Although James Lee allegedly used his own name and a host of aliases to lease apartments to be used as brothels, Mitlitsky testified that both Han and Junmyung also leased brothel-apartments in their own names.
Levy explained, “[T]he buyers who made up this ring hail from an array of professions. They are doctors. They are lawyers. They’re accountants. They’re elected officials. They are executives at high-tech companies and pharmaceutical companies. They’re military officers, government contractors, professors, scientists. Pick a profession, they’re probably represented in this case.” He added, “The government alleges that there are potentially hundreds of individuals who took these services as commercial sex buyers.”
Despite the sensation caused by the claim that elected officials, military officials, government contractors with security clearances, Big Tech and Big Pharma executives, and a host of other influential professionals were frequenting an elite prostitution ring, no names of “customers” have yet been released. Mitlitsky’s affidavit explains that, even though at least 20 “customers” were interviewed during the course of the investigation, a separate investigation to determine the involvement of “sex buyers” is still ongoing and cannot, therefore, be discussed at this time.
Han Lee’s and Junmyung Lee’s hearing on Monday was postponed, with the judge citing a precautionary need to ensure that there is no conflict of interest with the U.S. Attorney’s office, given the high caliber of the professional statuses of alleged brothel “customers.” The hearing will resume Wednesday, November 22.
S.A. McCarthy serves as a news writer at The Washington Stand.
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