(Newser) – The brothels seemed to have an uncanny ability to sidestep trouble in undercover stings, and a slew of arrests in New York City might explain why. Prosecutors say a former vice detective familiar with the department’s ways ran the operation, reports the New York Post. But more than that, he allegedly hired at least seven active-duty cops to tip him off to raids and even provide muscle as bouncers, reports the New York Times. One detective got $500 a week for letting kingpin Ludwig Paz, 51, know when to expect a raid, sometimes when he himself was outside a building as part of it, say prosecutors. Other deals were smaller: Another detective got half-off discounts on $40 sexual encounters in exchange for information, according to the charges.
“They’ve ruined their own careers and reputations,” says police commissioner James P. O’Neill. “More importantly, they have diminished the great work of tens of thousands of honest, honorable, and ethical cops.” Police arrested three sergeants, two detectives, and two officers, along with 26 civilians. The operation also involved gambling run through nail salons in Queens, and it pulled in $2 million in profits over 13 months, say prosecutors. One way Paz allegedly used his own knowledge to his benefit: Knowing that undercover officers are not allowed to expose their genitals, he insisted that any new customers strip before they were allowed to talk business.
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