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One of the eight brothels was located on Jamaica Avenue in Hollis.
By Forum Staff
An NYPD detective will be sentenced to two to six years in prison when he returns to court on June 25 after admitting to his role in assisting in running a prostitution ring in Queens, Brooklyn, and Nassau counties, Acting Queens District Attorney John Ryan announced on Monday.
Brooklyn Vice Det. Rene Samaniego, 44, pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted enterprise corruption last week in satisfaction of two indictments. Samaniego will go to prison for his part in the operation of a complex prostitution ring and gambling rooms set up in beauty salons and other businesses between August 2016 and September 2018.
According to authorities, an investigation began in April 2015 when an anonymous tip came in to NYPD Internal Affairs that some police officers—active duty and retired—were involved in the illegal operation. Investigators then used court-authorized wiretaps, surveillance, and other investigative tools to identify the illegal network and the individuals involved.
Samaniego worked closely with the ringleader, furnishing him with detailed intelligence on police procedure, informing him of scheduled raids, and other information which facilitated keeping the illegal business open and running.
Samaniego went as far as to identify undercover officers working on the case by what they were wearing and their exact locations, thereby compromising not only the identity of the officers, but their safety and their lives as well, officials noted.
The intelligence supplied by Samaniego enabled the brothels’ operators to set up protocols for new clients so that undercover officers could be identified. Up to eight brothels were operating in locations on Liberty, Jamaica, and Onderdonk avenues in Queens, and other spots in Brooklyn and on Long Island.
The prostitution ring alone raked in more than $2 million in 13 months using online ads to get customers. Additionally, illegal lotteries were set up in various businesses; the operations had managers, runners and agents working offices in which bets were placed on legal lotteries.
Ryan added, “I have the utmost respect for the many fine NYPD officers…sadly there are some who possess the badge and tarnish it.”