An assistant college basketball coach at Texas A&M Commerce is one of four people in custody, facing allegations of promoting prostitution at several Dallas-area massage parlors, Dallas police say.
Dallas police said they launched an investigation into a number of "illicit massage businesses" in operation on the 11000 block of Emerald Street, near Royal Lane and Interstate 35E, after receiving numerous tips there were illegal services being offered inside. The businesses were all adjacent, but operated as three different massage parlors named Blue Star/Charming, Passion X and Jasmine Body Scents.
During the investigation, police said detectives confirmed through multiple visits that prostitution was occurring inside and that all of the massage parlors were connected to a single group of owner-operators. Detectives also said observations of the businesses indicated people may have been trafficked into the businesses for the purpose of prostitution.
On Wednesday, a task force made up of Dallas police and several other local, state and federal agencies, raided the operations on Emerald Street as well as two other locations -- one on the 2000 block of Whispering Cove in Lewisville and another on the 2800 block of Bois D'arc Street in Commerce.
Police said any person working in the massage parlor found to be a victim of trafficking will be provided with support services and diversion opportunities. In addition to detaining multiple people found inside the businesses, police arrested the following men at other locations who investigators said were "directly responsible for the illicit massage businesses."
Arrested were Steven Eix, 53, who was taken into custody in Lewisville by the Lewisville Police Department and the Dallas Police Department. Josip Maric, 42, and Yenrudee Anuson, 44, were taken into custody in Commerce by the Texas Department of Public Safety, Commerce Police Department, Texas A&M Commerce University Police Department and the Dallas Police Department. The final arrest, Pornthipa Khan, 54, was made in Honolulu, Hawaii, by HSI and the US Marshals Task Force.
All of the four who were arrested face a charge of aggravated promotion of prostitution.
One of the four arrested, Maric, was a men's assistant basketball coach at Texas A&M University Commerce. In a temporary restraining order filed by the city Wednesday, investigators said Maric owned the Blue Star/Charming business.
The university released the following statement Thursday after learning of Maric's arrest.
"Yesterday, the Texas A&M University-Commerce Police Department cooperated in a multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional investigation that included the serving of a search and arrest warrant on former men's assistant basketball coach, Josip Maric. This individual's employment has been terminated. This is an ongoing investigation, led by another agency, thus we have no other information to share at this time," the school said.
The TRO filed by the city Wednesday asserted multiple women appeared to be living inside the businesses and that they were engaging in unlicensed massages. Further, they city said the conditions violated the fire code and created a danger to other people and property and that they wanted the property to be ordered closed for one year.
Dallas police said the investigation into the businesses is ongoing and they will provide more details at a later date. There is no word yet on whether additional charges will be filed.