Manhattan-based prostitution and drug ring busted days before Super Bowl
A high-end prostitution and drug trafficking ring that was marketing its services to clientele headed to the city for the Super Bowl was busted early Thursday morning, authorities announced.
Eighteen suspects have been charged with conspiracy, narcotics sales, promoting prostitution, money laundering and other crimes.
The arrests were the culmination of an 11-month undercover investigation conducted by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s Organized Crime Task Force and the NYPD. The crime ring is charged with selling “party packs,” involving cocaine and prostitutes, and laundering the illegal proceeds through front businesses such as a clothing wholesaler, a wig wholesaler, a limousine service and a beauty supply wholesaler, authorities said.
“Drug trafficking and prostitution are a scourge on communities across our state,” Schneiderman said.
Investigators say the suspects targeted wealthy out-of-town clients who were headed to the tri-state area for large events. Ten days before the Super Bowl, a text message was sent out to customers that read, “new sexy & beautiful girls R in town waiting for u.”
“These criminals utilized apartments in residential buildings as a way of carrying out their illicit activities. They disregarded the safety and well-being of every member in those communities by providing a ‘one-stop shopping’ drug and prostitution ring,” said Police Commissioner William Bratton.
In some incidents, one prostitute would bring large amounts of cocaine to the client. Once the client was impaired by the drugs, the ring would flood the room with more prostitutes and repeatedly charge the client’s credit card, sometimes charging as much as $10,000 in one night.
Authorities used undercover investigators, physical and electronic surveillance and reviews of business records to make the bust. Though the ring was based in Manhattan, the crimes spanned Manhattan, Brooklyn, Long Island, Queens and several other states, authorities said.
Intercepted conversations revealed that the group used code words for cocaine such as “party,” “jewelery,” “powder,” “maek,” and “soojaebi,” a Korean noodle soup.
The business allegedly used the Internet and public access TV to advertise their services, authorities said.
Those charged with various felony and misdemeanor counts were identified as Tony Yoo, 34; Jopseh Landrum, 32; Hyun Ok Yoon, 41; Young Ok, 38; Kyung Chun Min, 33; Sun Lee Ahn, 56; Young Mi Lee, 40; Ji Young Moon, 40; Janice Lee, 35; Hee Jung Chern, 42; Haiming Quan, 41; Kyong Bin Cho, 44; Jung Hee Jang, 43; In Suk Cho, 49; Ji Young Lee, 34; Hada Jang, 26; Nina Kim, 31; Hajoung Heath, 40.