East Trent spa owner faces judge for organized crime charge

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by SHAWN CHITNIS & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on January 27, 2014 at 6:33 PM

Updated Monday, Jan 27 at 6:40 PM

SPOKANE, Wash.--A North Spokane spa owner appeared before a judge Monday nearly two years after several massage parlors were raided as part of Operation Red Light.

The owner of Montana’s Health and Relaxation Spa on East Trent was charged in January with leading organized crime. The charge is in addition to previous charges for prostitution and money laundering.

Court documents filed in connection with Brandy Birkland’s organized crime charge reveal more about what the confidential informants in the investigation will testify to.

READ: A timeline of the Operation Red Light investigation

Birkland was released out of custody in early January when she went before a judge. She was back in court on Monday to prepare for her trial.

Court documents filed with her most recent charge of leading organized crime show evidence in the case for other charges.
   
Birkland’s business, Montana’s Health and Relaxation Spa, located in Spokane Valley was one of nine spas investigated.

READ: Prostitutes key to taking down Spokane massage parlors

Documents provide direct statements of what confidential informants provided against Montana’s. One said, “Montana’s is nothing more than a front for prostitution.”

Documents also reveal an Airway Heights detective cold called Montana’s Spa and asked if he could pay for two prostitutes at one time. The detective was told that service was available.

Documents also show the case against money laundering. They state the prostitution ring was Birkland’s only source of income. Documents said a confidential informant could testify that Birkland would set the prices for the girls for various acts of prostitution.

There are at least 25 different confidential informants helping investigators in their case according to documents filed in January.

Birkland’s trial is set for April 21, 2014.

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