RISSA SHAW’S SHALLOW IN DEPTH REPORTING
Okay, you say the Las Vegas buffet human trafficking case collapsed. You didn’t say WHY. You did not even ask the hard questions like WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED THERE?
#2. Were ANY of them under age, big rumor they were in their twenties
#3. Were they replating the damned shrimp and got away with it?
#4. Why no tough questions when it comes to McNamara?
Just the worst piece of reporting anyone has seen in a long time.
WACO, Texas (KWTX) Prosecutors have dropped all charges stemming from a three-month human trafficking investigation that led to a raid on Waco’s Vegas Buffet restaurant where 17 foreign employees were alleged to have been forced to work to pay off debts for entry into the U.S.
Four people were indicted in September 2018 on trafficking-related charges in connection with the raid.
The restaurant’s owners, Zhi Lin and Yala Lang, were charged with engaging in organized crime and trafficking of persons, former owner, Sheng Weng, was charged with engaging in organized crime, and Peng Li, Lin’s brother, was charged with trafficking of persons.
Those charges have now been dismissed, county officials confirmed Friday.
Calls to District Attorney Barry Johnson, First Assistant District Attorney Nelson Barnes, and the DA’s spokesman Tom Needham weren’t immediately returned Friday afternoon.
Local, state and federal authorities executed a search warrant in June 2018 at the restaurant on North Valley Mills Dr. following a three-month human trafficking investigation that started with a tip from one of the alleged 17 victims who said they were being paid below minimum wage and were told if they didn’t pay the money they owed to the smugglers, they’d be deported.
The 17 workers from China and Guatemala, some children, were being forced to pay off debts between $2,500 and $80,000 for entry into the U.S., McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara said at the time.
The Guatemalans were smuggled through the desert and into Houston, and the Chinese came in through New York City.
With the help of local advocacy organization UnBound, McNamara said investigators determined the victims from China were working legally in the U.S. temporarily, but none were citizens.
Two of child workers attended China Spring Elementary School, according to search warrant affidavits, and they were taken into CPS custody.
Their current whereabouts are unknown.
Besides the restaurant, authorities searched two other locations where they believed the victims were being housed including the Avila Apartments at 5000 Sanger Ave. in Waco, and the boss’s home at 9409 Colfax Dr. in China Spring, according to the search warrant affidavits.
McNamara said they seized more than $50,000 in assets.