Federal agents and investigators from the NYPD and Suffolk County police rounded up nine suspects late Tuesday and on Wednesday morning as part of a wide-ranging investigation of an alleged interstate human trafficking ring that used violence to enslave women on Long Island.
Eleven suspects, including two already in custody, were named later in an unsealed Manhattan federal court indictment that charged sex trafficking involving at least 10 female victims coerced to participate by threats, punching, choking, brandishing weapons and withholding drugs.
The 15-count indictment said the traffickers — all from Suffolk County and including men and women — marketed the women’s services on the internet, held them in houses, and transported them to locations in New York, Connecticut and other states to engage in sex acts.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman called the behavior “as callous as it is crude” and said in a statement, “They operated a pay-for-sex business with their clients, while they threatened, intimidated and coerced their female employees to participate in sex acts for money.”
A law enforcement source familiar with the case said the raids were the culmination of an investigation that began last year when Suffolk police got a call from a woman who said she was working out of a motel in the Hamptons for the ring and was being beaten.
The ring sent women, from 20 to 33 years old, to engage in prostitution in the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens and out of state, the source said, and two victims died of drug overdoses.
“The takedown of this alleged sex trafficking ring in Suffolk County is crucial in stopping predators who target the vulnerable for financial gain as well as supporting the victims in getting the necessary assistance they deserve,” said Suffolk Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart.
Lorenzo Randall, 29, of Bay Shore, was charged in nine counts of the 15-count indictment, and faces six counts with maximum life sentences, including four with 15-year mandatory minimums, for conspiracy and sex trafficking by force.
Carl Andrews, 45, of Bay Shore, also faces charges with a mandatory minimum of 15 years up to life.
Defendants Justin Rivera, 29, and Dwayne Conley, 50, both of Bay Shore, as well as Ricarda Diamond, 37, of Mastic; Brian Smith, 30, and Franklyn Francisco, 38, both of Central Islip; and Geraldine Faustin, 30, of West Babylon, face potential life sentences for conspiracy.
Anthony Darby, 26, and Kari Parker, 22, both of Mastic, and Magen Moreau, 29, of Bay Shore, face lesser charges based on transporting women across state lines that carry maximums of 5 or 10 years in prison.
Rivera and Conley were already in state custody. All the other defendants pleaded not guilty at their appearances in Manhattan federal court on Wednesday afternoon, and were detained. The next court appearance was set for March 29.
With Michael O'Keeffe