Seven NYPD Officers Arrested for Their Role in a 40-Person Prostitution Ring
Three sergeants, two detectives and two police officers were arrested and stripped of their guns and shields after they were taken in for questioning by the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau.
Two other detectives were not criminally charged, but were placed on modified duty and forced to turn in their weapons and badges. They are expected to face departmental charges.
More than a dozen other cops are being investigated and could face internal charges later.
Sources said a large chunk of the investigation centered around the Brooklyn South Narcotics Squad.
Internal Affairs swarmed the Squad’s offices Wednesday and immediately put the entire building on lockdown as they collected evidence, a source with knowledge of the case said. Everyone inside had to surrender any of their cellphones and electronic devices.
“They came in like a SWAT team,” the source said.
Investigators were later seen carrying out lockers belonging to the implicated police officers.
The cops would allegedly tip off the head honchos of the gambling and prostitution ring — which operated in Brooklyn and Queens — about upcoming raids and search warrants.
On some occasions, prostitutes were ordered to massage and have sex with the cops for their help, sources with knowledge of the case said.
Those arrested include Sgt. Carlos Cruz of the 69th Precinct in Brooklyn; Sgt. Louis Failla, a member of the Queens South Evidence Control Team; Sgt. Cliff Nieves, who is assigned to a Transit Bureau investigation unit; Police Officer Steven Nieves of the 84th Precinct in Brooklyn Heights; Police Officer Giancarlo Raspanti of the 109th Precinct in Flushing, Queens; Detective Giovanny Rojas-Acosta of the NYPD’s Criminal Investigations Division, and Detective Rene Samaniego of the Brooklyn South Vice Squad.
Cruz, Rojas-Acosta and Samaniego are charged with enterprise corruption. Cliff Nieves and Steven Nieves are charged with promoting prostitution, while Failla and Raspanti face official misconduct charges. All seven have been suspended for 30 days without pay.
“The overwhelming number of police officers are honest and dedicated to making New York City a safe place to live,” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. “Neither my office nor Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill will tolerate that tiny percentage of officers who besmirch the reputation of the thousands upon thousands of their noble colleagues.”
The two detectives put on modified assignment are Manuel Rodriguez of the 72nd Precinct and Rafael Vega, cops said.