Several NYPD cops were arrested on Wednesday for protecting (and participating in) a prostitution & gambling ring.
According to police, in some cases the officers received sex and massages for their assistance.
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.
Failla, Raspanti and Vega all have more than 20 years with the department. Officer Nieves has the least amount of time with the NYPD — about 7 years, according to officials.
The officers may have been introduced to the ring by a retired NYPD detective who is heavily involved in the criminal organization, sources said.
A high-ranking NYPD source said the IAB investigation took three years to complete and involved “hundreds of hours of surveillance and multiple (wiretaps).”
The officers allegedly provided a shady safety net for prostitution and gambling rings, which sources described as not being “high end.”
As part of the protection, the officers allegedly tipped off the honchos about investigations into their illegal business.
“This was an investigation that was initiated by a member of the service, followed through by Internal Affairs and it came to this conclusion,” a source explained. “We’re cleaning our own house. This was literally a member of the department calling IAB and saying he didn’t like what was going on here.”
The seven officers are expected to be arraigned in Queens criminal court Thursday.
An estimated 40 others involved in the prostitution and gambling ring are also expected to be charged, officials said.
“Today, those who swore an oath and then betrayed it have felt the consequences of that infidelity,” Police Commissioner James O’Neill said. “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. (The Internal Affairs Bureau) initiated this probe and in doing so, has sent a clear message: there is no place in the NYPD for criminal or unethical behavior.”
Police are supposed to protect and serve — not protect and get serviced!