A West Babylon man and his sister were charged Thursday with operating a sex trafficking ring, providing cocaine and heroin to as many as four women to force them to work as prostitutes, Suffolk prosecutors said.
Anthony Cordero, 30, and his sister, Demaris Cordero, 31, pleaded not guilty Thursday in Suffolk County District Court in Central Islip to two counts each of sex trafficking, conspiracy and promoting prostitution. Anthony Cordero also faces one count of unlawful possession of marijuana.
State Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho held Anthony Cordero on $1 million bond or $500,000 cash and his sister on $200,000 bond or $100,000 cash.
The siblings face up to 25 years each in prison, if convicted of all charges.
“The defendants used drugs to induce these women into working for them as sex slaves,” Suffolk District Attorney Timothy Sini told reporters after the arraignment.
Sini said the Corderos gave the victims, some of whom were as young as their early 20s, drugs “to impair their judgment and to make them dependent upon themselves so they could control these women.”
Anthony Cordero was arrested Feb. 24 during a traffic stop in Deer Park when officers smelled marijuana in his vehicle. Two of the victims were in the vehicle and found in possession of drugs, prosecutors said.
The women told police that Anthony Cordero would give them crack and heroin, threaten them with violence and bring them to motels in Port Jefferson, East Farmingdale and Commack for sex.
Anthony Cordero told police the women were not credible. “Who is going to believe those crack whores anyway?” he told police, according to charging documents.
Ira Weissman of Central Islip, Anthony Cordero’s attorney, said the women were drug addicts whose stories could not be trusted.
“These are allegations made by women who were brought into a police precinct because they were possessing drugs,” Weissman said. “They had to get out from under that. It’s convenient to point the finger at Mr. Cordero.”
The trafficking ring, authorities said, dates back to August 2017.
While Anthony Cordero was working at an air-conditioning business in Manhattan, prosecutors said, his sister was left to supervise the women, posting ads on Craigslist.com and Backpage.com and driving them to hotels across Suffolk. Authorities said Anthony Cordero paid his sister in crack.
James O’Rourke, Demaris Cordero’s attorney, said his client voluntarily surrendered on Wednesday.
The Corderos are due back in court on the latest charges on April 25.
Anthony Cordero has three criminal convictions: operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs, endangering the welfare of a child, and criminal sale of a controlled substance. Cordero was convicted on the latter charge in 2010 and sentenced to 4 1⁄2 years in prison. He was paroled in 2014.
Demaris Cordero was arrested in February on charges of driving while intoxicated and criminal possession of a controlled substance, records show.