Sex trafficking defendant held on $10K cash bail


WESTFIELD -A Groton, Conn., man was held in lieu of $10,000 cash bail after his arraignment June 25 on a charge of trafficking of persons for sexual servitude.
Westfield Police Officer John E. Blascak, a member the department’s Community Service Unit, reports that he was investigating a possible illicit massage operation and found that the organization crossed both city and state lines.
Blascak said that he consulted with Chief Lawrence Valliere who approved a wider investigation so Blascak contacted the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office.
Blascak reports, in a court document, that beginning in August, 2020, a joint investigation by city police and State Police detectives assigned to  Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey’s office found four locations, including one at 51 Southwick Road, Westfield, “to be currently operating as illicit massage therapy businesses where commercial sex is purchased.”
Three additional businesses, in Worcester and Watertown, were the others identified as illicit massage businesses by the investigation.

Although the neon ‘Open’ sign in the window of Green Palace Massage Therapy at 51 Southwick Road is illuminated, the door is locked after city police closed down the business which was allegedly operating as a illicit massage operation where commercial sex was purchased. (CARL E. HARTDEGEN/THE WESTFIELD NEWS)

Also identified on the basis of physical surveillance were two residences, one in Westfield at Little River Crossing, an apartment complex at 93 South Maple St., which are believed to have been used “to facilitate the illicit massage businesses.”
Blascak reports that John H. Smalls, 44, of 20 Midway Oval, Groton, Conn., and a partner were targeted for surveillance.
Blascak reports that both men “had been observed at The Green Palace Massage Therapy on 51 Southwick Road. At this location, these individuals have been seen transporting women, bringing supplies, advertising for this location and facilitating aspects of the human trafficking organization.”
Blascak’s report goes on to say “investigators observed a pattern of lone male parties entering the establishment for thirty to sixty-minute periods. Interviews with these parties confirmed they had paid for commercial sex with the women working there.”
Blascak said that Smalls is not officially connected with the business but “his significant other is the one who took out a permit to operate (a business) in Westfield.”
Smalls was observed, according to Blascak’s report, both locking and unlocking the front door at the Green Palace store front and also had been observed spending the night there and at the apartment at the nearby Little River Crossing apartments listed in the report. The investigation found that the “victim/women” had gone to the same unit in the residential complex “for periods of time or to spend the night.”
Blascak said that warrants were obtained for both men but the investigators only had a viable address for Smalls. He said that Massachusetts troopers, with assistance from Groton, Conn., police, arrested Smalls on the warrant. His confederate remains at large
Smalls appeared in Westfield District Court on Friday, June 25, before Judge William A. Rota who set bail at $10,000 and ordered conditions of release if bail is posted.
Smalls is scheduled to return to court for a hearing on July 22. His case will ultimately be adjudicated in Superior Court as the statute specifies that District Court does not have final jurisdiction for a charge of trafficking of a person for sexual servitude

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