Authorities raid two day spas in Bennington Tuesday. They're investigating whether the spas are just fronts for illegal operations.
Both the Bennington Police and the FBI worked together to uncover what may be a human trafficking and prostitution ring right in Bennington's downtown.
The Green Spa on Main Street in Downtown Bennington and the Cozy Spa on North Street may soon be shut down.
"Those two businesses are under investigation for reports of solicitation and investigations along those lines," said Bennington County State's Attorney Erica Marthage.
Police say they were tipped to the possible crimes about a year and a half ago. But six months ago, those rumors began to hold water, and the Bennington police and the FBI have been watching the locations ever since. Tuesday, they executed search warrants at both massage shops.
"We seized some electronic storage devices, some computers, cellphones, some cash, many business records," explained Det. Sgt. David Rowland of the Bennington Police Department.
Police say the women working at the spa are from China and could be victims of human trafficking. Though no arrests were made, they say they did find evidence of crimes committed at both locations, but declined to elaborate. They're also investigating reports of prostitution.
"I think you will be shocked of some of the things we learned about what's been transpiring here in Bennington," said Bennington Police Chief Paul Doucette, though he declined to explain what information was found.
Doucette said the businesses weren't shut down, but will find it hard to operate given the amount of evidence police sized Tuesday afternoon. He expects arrests will happen once officials process all the evidence.
"They know that we're watching and are not going to tolerate this behavior. If there are victims, they need to come forward," Doucette said.
Police are investigating whether the Green Spa is part of a larger crime ring.
The state's attorney also says that the spas being investigated are not connected to another prostitution case that recently made headlines in Bennington.
We did call both spas earlier Tuesday, but our calls were not answered.
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