Huge Prostitution Ring Tackled Days Before Super Bowl, Authorities Say
FINANCIAL DISTRICT — A multimillion dollar prostitution and cocaine ring catering to out-of-town johns flooding into the city from as far away as Texas for the Super Bowl was broken up Thursday, authorities said.
The Manhattan-based organization wooed wealthy men with “party packs” of cocaine and hookers in Brooklyn, Long Island, and Queens, according to state Attorney General Eric Scheiderman. Investigators arrested 11 of the 18 top-level members, mostly women, Thursday morning, according to the NYPD.
The ring was in the middle of an aggressive marketing blitz in anticipation of the Seahawks/Broncos game at MetLIfe Stadium this weekend and the arrests were made in hopes of learning more about the johns ordering women and drugs, Scheiderman said.
“We also want to send a message to anyone who might be considering patronizing such illegal services before the Super Bowl. Better to get yourself in front of the TV, watch the game, have a couple of beers, stay out of trouble,” Schneiderman added.
During the 11-month investigation, detectives used undercover agents and electronic surveillance to uncover the scope of the sophisticated operation.
The ring would advertise its services online and on public access television in anticipation of big events, such as the Super Bowl.
“I’m not sure you can even put it on TV,” the Attorney General said of the ads.
Last week, detectives intercepted a text blast alerting clients that, “new sexy& beautiful girls R in town waiting for u."
Johns would meet the girls in hotels throughout town or special locations, Schneiderman said.
It was common practice for one prostitute to sell coke to the johns and then flood the room with additional girls once he was impaired. Some amourous patrons racked up $10,000 bills.
Because most johns paid in cash, it’s unclear exactly how much money the illegal operation brought in or how many johns there were.
The Attorney General said that investigators have tracked $3 million in credit card transactions during the course of the investigation, leading him to believe it was among the biggest in New York.
The NYPD declined to disclose exactly how many johns have been arrested, saying that some were being interrogated and the investigation is ongoing.
The prostitutes, who were not immediately arrested, were being interviewed to determine if they are victims of human trafficking, according to the NYPD.
Investigators stumbled upon this operation while listening to a wiretap of another prostitution case. They overheard two madams talk about a woman called Beige and how impressive her organization was.
Beige, whose real name is Hyun Ok Yoonug, 41, was the alleged ringleader of the drug and prostitution ring. She was charged with promoting prostitution and drug possession.
"She's well known in the industry," Schneiderman said.