Brooklyn, NY – Seven members of the New York Police Department (NYPD) were arrested on Wednesday, accused of providing protection for the operation of the prostitution and gambling ring in Brooklyn and Queens.
NYPD said it had been investigating the case since 2015, when detectives received a tip from an officer about gambling and prostitution problems within the agency, WNBC reported.
The officers who were arrested allegedly provided protection to locations where those crimes were occurring in Queens and Brooklyn, and ran computer checks so they could alert civilian suspects who came under police scrutiny.
Sources told WNBC that three NYPD sergeants, two detectives, and two officers from a widespread variety of units were picked up in the sweep that was three years in the making.
WABC reported that police arrested Sergeant Carlos Cruz, 41, of the 69th Precinct Detective Squad, and charged him with enterprise corruption. Detective Giovanny Rojas-Acosta, 40, of Central Investigation Division, and 43-year-old Brooklyn South Vice Detective Rene Samaniego were also charged with enterprise corruption.
Patrol Borough Queens South Sergeant Louis Failla, 49, and 43-year-old 109th Precinct Patrol Officer Giancarlo Raspanti were arrested and charged with official misconduct.
Sergeant Cliff Nieves, 37, with Transit Bureau Investigation, and 32-year-old 84th Precinct Patrol Officer Steven Nieves were charged with promoting prostitution. It was not known if they were related.
An NYPD spokesman said that two more detectives had been placed on limited duty in connection with the investigation, WNBC reported.
Police also arrested 40 civilian suspects who were involved in the gambling and prostitution rings.
“Today, those who swore an oath and then betrayed it have felt the consequences of that infidelity,” NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill said in a statement. "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."
“I thank Deputy Commissioner Joseph Reznick for the thorough investigation performed by the Internal Affairs Bureau, in partnership with the Queens District Attorney's Office, in rooting out this illicit activity,” Commissioner O’Neill continued. “His unit initiated this probe and in doing so, has sent a clear message: there is no place in the NYPD for criminal or unethical behavior."
Internal Affairs investigators compiled hundreds of hours of surveillance and wiretaps, and learned that many of the women involved in the case were from Central America, WABC reported.
The Queens District Attorney’s Office was prosecuting the NYPD members who were arrested on Wednesday, and all were expected to appear in court for their arraignments on Thursday.
Neither the district attorney nor any of the police support organizations gave reporters a comment after the arrests were made, WNBC reported.