News Broke on Wednesday that the FBI and the NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau arrested seven current or former NYC cops for their involvement in a large scale prostitution ring. A source told the New York Post that 30 more police officers are being targeted for questioning or possible arrest.
The officers were arraigned on Thursday and face charges of corruption, promoting prostitution and official misconduct. Seven of the eight arrested were on active duty, while the one retired cop, Detective Ludwin Paz, was a former vice detective.
The arrests followed a three-year investigation after “a member of the department suspected illegal activity by other members of the department and reported to Internal Affairs,” a source told the NY Post.
The investigation centered around the Brooklyn South Narcotics building which was on lock-down yesterday as the arrests were made. Investigators also stormed the 72nd Precinct in Sunset Park, a neighborhood also in Brooklyn.
The initial focus on the investigation was a series of brothels reportedly under police protection on Roosevelt Avenue in Queens and in Sunset Park. Hempstead, Long Island is also possibly another location where officers set up brothels.
The scope of the investigation spread out over the three years and encompassed thousands of hours of surveillance and undercover work and multiple wire-taps.
“Today, those who swore an oath and then betrayed it have felt the consequences of that infidelity,” NYPD Police Commissioner James O’Neill said of the busts.
“The people of this Department are rightly held to the highest standard, and should they fail to meet it, the penalty will be swift and severe.”
At least 40 civilians have also been arrested according to a NY Post source.
Detective Paz is additionally suspected of running illegal gambling rings out of beauty salons in other locations. Investigators believe Paz exploited his experience as a vice detective to set up the gambling and prostitution rings.
The New York Post reported police sources identified those arrested, and their charges, as:
Sgt. Carlos Cruz, 69th Precinct Det. Squad, enterprise corruption; Sgt. Louis Failla, Queens Evidence Collection Team, official misconduct; Sgt. Cliff Nieves, Transit Bureau Investigation, promoting prostitution; PO Steven Nieves, 84th Precinct, promoting prostitution; PO Giancarlo Raspanti, 109th Precinct, official misconduct; Det. Gionanny Rojas-Acosta, Criminal Investigation Division Training, enterprise corruption; Det. Rene Samaniego, Brooklyn South Vice, enterprise corruption.