Ex-sheriff's lieutenant charged for alerting LA massage parlors of raids

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Those working next to H2O Massage on Fairfax Avenue often suspected that something illegal may have been going on behind its doors and wondered why the business was never raided.

Retired L.A. County Sheriff's Lt. David Smith is now facing charges for tipping off an H2O employee of possible raids at the West Hollywood massage parlor, along with another one he allegedly frequented on Santa Monica Boulevard.

Smith, 59, has pled not guilty to a felony and misdemeanor count of obstruction of justice.

Prosecutors say Smith would claim to be conducting lawful inspections at H2O and Pine Therapy Massage, only to instead pay for sex.

H2O reportedly refused service to some women, according to one business owner near the parlor.

Smith allegedly also received gifts from an employee in exchange for alerting her to possible raids, telling her to close one evening because law enforcement might be near the parlor.

"Now we are just awaiting the legal process to play itself out," L.A. County Sheriff's Department Captain Sergio Alamo said.

Smith had been with the department for 30 years before retiring last September.
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