Sheriff's office: Suspects in human trafficking case at Vegas Bu - KXXV Central Texas News Now

Sheriff's office: Suspects in human trafficking case at Vegas Buffet arrested again

Zhi Lin (Source: McLennan County Jail) Zhi Lin (Source: McLennan County Jail)
Yali Yang (Source: McLennan County Jail) Yali Yang (Source: McLennan County Jail)
Peng Li (Source: McLennan County Jail) Peng Li (Source: McLennan County Jail)
(Source: KXXV) (Source: KXXV)
(Source: KXXV) (Source: KXXV)

The McLennan County Sheriff's Office said they have rearrested the suspects who were arrested last Friday for human trafficking at the Vegas Buffet in Waco. Zhi Jimmy Lin and Yali Yang face new continuous smuggling of persons charges. 

The sheriff added that this charge means they were hiding the identity of illegal persons. They also arrested a third suspect, Peng Li. Li was charged with engaging in organized crime, and his 2012 Mercedes was also seized. 

The second round of arrests happened Monday afternoon between 4th and 5th St.

The sheriff's office served a human trafficking warrant at the Vegas Buffet on Friday. Sheriff Parnell McNamara said the charges involve labor trafficking, specifically.

17 people were detained and two have been arrested. McNamara said of those people, seven or eight are from Guatemala and the others are from countries in Asia.

The restaurant was shut down for the day as a result. It was unclear if it will remain closed. 

Affidavits say two additional search warrants were issued in connection with the human trafficking at The Vegas Buffet. One for an apartment unit at the Avila Apartments and another at a home on Colfax Drive in Waco. Lin and his wife Yang took care of these residences where the trafficked victims lived.

The affidavits go into details about how the victims were brought into the United States.

One victim told authorities, once they were in the U.S., they had five years to pay back the $80,000 trafficking fee. Another victim told authorities about the harsh working conditions at the Vegas Buffet.

According to the affidavit, they sometimes worked for 13 hours a day, six days a week and made just $6.41 an hour.

Seven different agencies, including the FBI, were involved.

Unbound Waco responded on site to interview the victims and assist the sheriff's office with finding out exactly how they got to Waco.

"This a big operation here. We were quite surprised when we got into this investigation to find out these many people were involved," said, Mclennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara.

This is an ongoing investigation.

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