NY City officials bust drug, prostitution ring ahead of Super Bowl

Thu Jan 30, 2014 5:47pm EST
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By Chris Francescani

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A multimillion-dollar drug and prostitution ring has been busted, New York City law enforcement officials said on Thursday, as they warned Super Bowl fans to steer clear of the city's sex and narcotics underworld.

Ring leaders offered high-flyer clients "party packs" of drugs and prostitutes in three separate operations aggressively pushing both sex and cocaine, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman told a news conference.

"Once the "john" (customer) was high or impaired on drugs, they would call in other prostitutes and repeatedly charge the john's credit cards, in excess of $10,000, in some cases, for one evening," Schneiderman said.

The 11-month probe by Schneiderman's organized crime task force, in coordination with the New York Police Department's vice squad, netted more than $3 million in credit card charges alone over the past year, he said.

"Keep in mind that most johns pay cash, so that's a staggering number for an enterprise like this."

The investigation began when two convicted madams who were arrested last year were caught on wiretaps discussing a woman named "Beige" as one of the biggest players on the market.

Hyun Ok "Beige" Yoon, 41, was arrested along with 17 other members of the ring's suspected management, said NYPD Chief of Department Phillip Banks III. They were charged with conspiracy and underlying charges of money laundering, narcotics sales and promoting prostitution.

Schneiderman said investigators had seen a sharp "uptick" in ads ahead of the Super Bowl, when hundreds of thousands of visitors are expected in New York and New Jersey for the event.   Continued...

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (L) speaks to reporters at the Saratoga Springs City Center in Saratoga Springs, New York, October 13, 2013. REUTERS/Hans Pennink