A Long Island woman running a “one-stop shopping” multimillion-dollar prostitution and drug ring that enticed johns from across the New York area is now out of business, law enforcement officials said Thursday in announcing a large-scale crime bust.
At a Jan. 30 news conference in Manhattan, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said 18 people have been charged for their alleged involvement with the high-end prostitution and trafficking ring.
The massive criminal enterprise was allegedly headed by Hyun Ok Yoonung, 41-year-old Korean immigrant from Woodbury who is “well known” in the flesh-peddling industry and went by the nickname “Beige,” sources said.
“This is someone we’ve heard of from other criminals, really sort of admiring the scope of her enterprise,” Schneiderman said. “They said that she was the biggest player in this market.”
The ring advertised on public access cable television stations and the Internet, stepping up their efforts for an influx of wealthy out-of-town customers expected to arrive for the Super Bowl, Schneiderman said.
Prosecutors said the group took a recent “aggressive push” in their text message marketing efforts geared toward people they thought were “high rollers.” One of the text messages blasted out to some of their frequent customers said: “new sexy & beautiful girls R in town waiting for u.”
The alleged hookers were charging up to $1,000-an-hour and specialized in “party packs,” where johns would both sex and drugs. The women, authorities said, would supply cocaine and other drugs to their customers on the spot.
In some cases, the ringleaders would take advantage of their drugged-up customers by flooding their hotel rooms with prostitutes and repeatedly charging their credit cards to rake in upwards of $10,000 for a single john.
The drugs were allegedly provided by Tony Yoo, 34, and Joseph Landrum, 32, who were also arrested and charged Thursday, according to court documents.
In total, 11 of the 18 individuals were arrested in overnight sweeps after the yearlong probe by the attorney general’s office, state police and NYPD. Investigators used electronic monitoring, wire taps and surveillance to learn the ring’s operations and structure, Schneiderman said. The massive operation was broken down into three groups: the Butterfly Group, which Yoonung ran, as well as the Gold VIP Group and the Jackie Group, he said.
The 18 individuals named in the probe were “managers” in the operation, Schneiderman added. They have all been charged with conspiracy counts and some face other crimes, including promoting prostitution, narcotics sales and money laundering, according to court papers.
Several women believed to be “street-level workers” were also detained for questioning during raids at numerous locations in the New York area. Investigators are now interviewing them to determine their involvement in the enterprise and find out whether they are human trafficking victims.
The Manhattan-based ring, officials said, also operated on Long Island, in Queens, Brooklyn and several other states.