2017-04-05 / Front Page

Eight ‘Johns’ Busted In Roosevelt Avenue Sting

By Liz Goff
Queens Vice cops busted eight men on March 25 and 26, after they were caught red-handed (and red-faced) offering cash for sex to undercover officers on Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights.

The eight men were caught in an NYPD sting conducted by cops at the Queens Vice Squad at 80th Street and Roosevelt Avenue, police said. The sting operation was part of an ongoing NYPD crackdown on prostitution and related offenses along the Roosevelt Avenue corridor, an NYPD spokesperson said.

Police conduct the sting operations on a regular basis, arresting “johns” who solicit sex from streetwalkers, police said. “These operations are, in part, in response to concerns expressed by local legislators, local leaders and the community,” an NYPD official said. “We cannot tolerate this type of activity in our on our commercial strips or in our neighborhoods.”

Four of those arrested, Guy Bandeney, 44, Alvaro Sanchez, 39, Cruz Mora, 25, and Carlos Quituizaca, 28, were charged with patronizing a prostitute at their arraignments at Queens Criminal Court, where they were released without bail.

The four others pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, prosecutors said. The court has sealed each of their cases.

Lawmakers and law enforcement officials dubbed the Roosevelt Avenue corridor  “an epicenter of sex trafficking in New York City,” saying pimps and johns have targeted immigrant women who live nearby, particularly in the Jackson Heights area. “Sex traffickers have operated for decades along the Roosevelt Avenue corridor in Corona and Jackson Heights,” local lawmakers said.

The NYPD defines human or sex trafficking as a crime that occurs when one person is exploited for the personal or financial gain of another.

Police Commissioner James O’Neill turned up the heat on sex traffickers back in February, announcing the reassignment of two-dozen detectives from NYPD commands throughout the city to the Citywide Vice Enforcement Unit to beef up the department’s ongoing effort to combat human trafficking in New York City.

O’Neill also unveiled a new, dedicated hotline that will allow victims to report human trafficking and will give friends and family members a way to report suspected traffickers.

“Assigning additional detectives, creating a dedicated tip lone and providing additional training for police officers on patrol will help the department combat human trafficking in and around New York City,” O’Neill said. “Under the initiative police will also place greater emphasis on pimps and johns to develop more long term cases on those who buy and sell people for sex,” O’Neill explained.


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