NYPD officers arrested in prostitution, gambling ring

A three-year internal NYPD investigation has culminated in the arrests of seven police officers and dozens of civilians in connection with a gambling and prostitution ring, according to law enforcement sources.

The department stripped guns and shields from Sgt. Carlos Cruz, 41, Sgt. Louis Failla, 49, Sgt. Cliff Nieves, 37, Police Officer Steven Nieves, 32, Police Officer Giancarlo Raspanti, 43, Detective Giovanny Rojas-Acosta, 40, and Detective Rene Samaniego, 43, officials said.

Authorities charged Cruz, Rojas-Acosta, and Samaniego with enterprise corruption; Cliff Nieves and Steven Nieves with promoting prostitution; Failla with official misconduct; and Raspanti with official misconduct and receiving reward for official misconduct.

At least some of the accused cops are from the 109th Precinct in Flushing, Queens, the 72nd Precinct in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, and the Brooklyn Vice Squad, sources said.

The Internal Affairs Bureau launched its probe in 2015 after receiving an anonymous tip from another cop who suspected something shady was going on. The bureau obtained multiple wiretaps and centered the probe around a retired vice detective, the New York Post reported.

In a statement, Police Commissioner James O'Neill said that members of the NYPD who fail to meet the highest standard will face "swift and severe" penalties.

"Today, those who swore an oath and then betrayed it have felt the consequences of that infidelity," O'Neill said. "There is no place in the NYPD for criminal or unethical behavior."

The commissioner thanked the Internal Affairs Bureau and the Queens District Attorney's Office, which is handling the case, for "rooting out this illicit activity."

"The overwhelming number of police officers are honest and dedicated to making New York City a safe place to live," DA Richard Brown said in a statement. "Neither my office nor Police Commissioner James P. O'Neill will tolerate that tiny percentage of officers who besmirch the reputation of the thousands upon thousands of their noble colleagues."

The accused cops are set to appear before a judge on Thursday morning.