A Bloods gang member from Deer Park ran a sex-trafficking ring in which he used the lure of drugs and fear of violence to force women into the sex trade, Suffolk County prosecutors said Saturday.
Abiodun Adeleke, 32, was arraigned Saturday after police arrested him at a Plainview Holiday Inn following a three-month investigation by the Suffolk County Police Department's Human Trafficking Unit.
Adeleke pleaded not guilty to four counts of sex trafficking and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. He was also charged with three active warrants for seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.
At the request of prosecutors, Suffolk County Judge James Malone issued orders of protection for 19 women who said they felt threatened by Adeleke. Authorities said he had forced dozens of women into prostitution since 2014.
The judge also set bail at $800,000 cash or $1.9 million bond. If convicted, he could face up to eight to 25 years in prison.
Adeleke’s court-appointed attorney Eric Besso argued his client did not face any assault charges and said some women entered into the work voluntarily.
But prosecutors said Adeleke preyed on the women's "drug addiction and vulnerability to induce them into prostitution.”
Prosecutors said Adeleke directed the women to book their own hotel rooms and rental cars and he offered to cover the expenses. Clients were lined up on Backpage.com ads and Adeleke would arrange dates for the women in exchange for giving them the drug of their choice, prosecutors said.
Authorities said although he would sometimes take at least half their prostitution proceeds, he often took all the money to cover drug expenses.
Prosecutors said the women were usually not allowed to leave or were threatened with harm and feared leaving.
Authorities said one woman told them about trying to get out of a car after she found a gun in the center console, but Adeleke told her she couldn't leave and pulled her back into the car by the hair.
Another woman reported being dragged downstairs and beaten repeatedly on the bottom step, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said the women feared repercussions if they didn’t follow Adeleke's orders.
Malone set a grand jury hearing Thursday to review evidence and issue formal charges. He said he also may set a hearing to determine the source of any bail money.