The seven NYPD officers in Queens and Brooklyn accused of being part of an inter-borough prostitution ring are awaiting arraignment on criminal charges, prosecutors announced.
On Sept. 12, according to NY1 News, the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau arrested two police officers, two detectives and three sergeants allegedly involved in the ring over the last three years. Another 40 civilians tied to the case were also picked up.
After news broke of the arrests, Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said on Wednesday that the defendants will be arraigned the following day in Queens Criminal Court. Brown is expected to formally announce the charges on Thursday afternoon, according to a spokesperson for his office.
Police and the New York Daily News identified the seven arrested officers as follows: Sergeant Carlos Cruz, 41, assigned to Brooklyn’s 69th Precinct; Sergeant Louis Failla, 49, a member of the NYPD Queens South Evidence Collection Team; Sergeant Cliff Nieves, 37, assigned to an NYPD Transit Bureau investigation team; Police Officer Steven Nieves, 32, a member of Brooklyn’s 84th Precinct; Police Officer Giancarlo Raspanti, 43, assigned to the 109th Precinct in Flushing; Detective Giovanny Rojas-Acosta, 40, a member of the NYPD Criminal Investigations Division; and Detective Rene Samaniego, 43, assigned to the NYPD Brooklyn South Vice Enforcement Unit.
Additionally, NY1 noted, two other detectives connected to the case were placed on modified duty.
As NY1 reported, the investigation began in 2015 after a police officer learned of the sex sales racket and alerted the Internal Affairs Bureau. The bureau employed court-authorized wiretaps, undercover agents and other investigative methods to gather information about the ring.
In addition to prostitution, according to the report, participants also allegedly provided private protection services to the ring operators.
“The overwhelming number of police officers are honest and dedicated to making New York City a safe place to live,” Brown said in a statement on Wednesday night. “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.”
“Today, those who swore an oath and then betrayed it have felt the consequences of that infidelity. 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,” O’Neill said in a full statement sent to QNS. “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. 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.”
According to the NYPD, Cruz, Rojas-Acosta and Samaniego were charged with enterprise corruption; Failla was booked on four counts of official misconduct; Raspanti was charged with receiving a reward for official misconduct and two official misconduct counts; and Cliff and Steven Nieves were each charged with promoting prostitution.
All of the officers have been suspended for 30 days without pay, the Daily News reported.
This story was updated at 9:50 a.m. on Sept. 13.