Eduardo Cornejo, a 10-year veteran of the NYPD, was fired last month for failing a random drug test. He was also, however, being investigated by the FBI and the Police Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau for running a prostitution ring out of various area motels. On Tuesday, Cornejo was charged with transporting women in interstate commerce to engage in prostitution (a federal offense).
The United States attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York accuses Cornejo, 33, of employing 10 prostitutes, who he drove to motels in New Jersey and on Staten Island and Long Island. In a statement, Diego Rodriguez, assistant director in charge of the F.B.I.’s New York field office, said “Cornejo not only abused the public trust given to him as an N.Y.P.D. officer, but he showed no human decency when he facilitated the exploitation of women for profit.”
“Police officers, like all public servants, are held to a higher standard, and should not violate the very same laws they are supposed to enforce.” The New York Post reports that Carnejo is an ex-Marine, and that his estranged wife is also a cop.
The joint investigation began last year, the complaint reads, shortly after the NYPD received an anonymous tip in the late spring. Undercover agents tracked Cornejo’s movements and activities for months—often, he’d begin his work as a pimp immediately after concluding a shift as a cop. NYPD spokesman Stephen Davis told the New York Times that Internal Affairs began its investigation in May and brought it to federal prosecutors in November.
At one point, an undercover agent called a number listed in a classified ad investigators believed to belong to one of the women allegedly working for Cornejo. From Special Agent Rocky Van Warden’s affidavit:
In response to questions from the UC, the woman indicated the cost would be $100 for 15 minutes, $150 for 30 minutes, and an additional $50 for “going down.” Based on my training and experience, I believe that the woman used the phrase “going down” to refer to oral sex.
Later, an undercover agent called the number again to ask about specific sex acts. The woman immediately hung up.
At his arraignment Tuesday, a judge ordered Cornejo held without bail until his next hearing, on Wednesday.