Elwood, NY

Tactics Used

Auto Seizure
Buyer Arrests
Community Service
Employment Loss
Identity Disclosure
IT Based Tactics
John School
License Suspension
Neighborhood Action
Public Education
Reverse Stings
SOAP Orders
Web Stings

Elwood is a census-designated place in the Town of Huntington in Suffolk County, on Long Island, New York. Its population is approximately  11,600.  The county has been known as the site of relatively larges scale, organized international prostitution or “escort” rings, as well as low-level local and regional operations facilitated initially by Craigslist and Backpage (and other websites since those two sites came under scrutiny of law enforcement and legislators, the latter being dismantled), related violence, and the laundering of money gained through prostitution and sex trafficking.  In 2018, the Suffolk County Police Department announced that it had established a permanent human-trafficking investigation unit that would focus on those who lure women, girls, and boys into commercial sex, often to support other criminal activity, such as drug dealing or gangs. The team was initially staffed by six detectives, including a commanding officer, and two police officers, and had been operating as a temporary unit since May 2017.

Consumer level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and has therefore been targeted by local law enforcement agencies as a strategy for prevention and response. Demand reduction tactics used in the town include reverse stings, the disclosure of sex buyer identities, and employment loss. In July, 2020, a man filed a complaint with the Suffolk County Police Department alleging that he had been the victim of an extortion scheme involving prostitution. At that time, he gave a sworn written statement to detectives, in which he stated in the relevant part “I have not sought the services of prostitutes or call girls.” During an investigation conducted with the assistance of the DEA’s Long Island Heroin Task Force, the man contacted a woman whom he had previously patronized for purposes of prostitution, but whose phone was then in the possession of law enforcement.  Thereafter, in October, 2020, an undercover police officer posing as a prostituted woman contacted the man, who agreed via text message to unlawfully provide the undercover police officer with oxycodone pills in exchange for sex. He was arrested at the arranged meeting location—a parking lot behind a shopping center on Jericho Turnpike in Elwood—in his County-issued vehicle. He was found in possession of two 30-milligram oxycodone pills which he possessed without a prescription. Following his arrest, the investigation revealed that he had previously patronized prostituted women, revealing the written statement he made to detectives to be false. He was arrested and charged with a variety of offenses, and in October, 2022, pled guilty to the crimes of Tampering with Public Records in the First Degree, and Patronizing a Person for Prostitution in the Third Degree. The proceeding took place the Suffolk County Supreme Court. Following the guilty plea, the offender was sentenced to a one-year term of interim probation which includes a term of imprisonment of six months and 420 hours of community service. If he successfully completes the interim probation period, the felony charge will be dismissed and he will serve an additional two-year term of probation on the patronizing charge. The man was a physician, and a further condition of his plea, the offender agreed never to re-apply for registration as a physician with the DEA to prescribe controlled substances.

Key Partners

  • Suffolk County Police Department
  • Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office
  • Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office
  • DEA Long Island Heroin Task Force

Key Sources

Arrest of Sex Buyer, Identity Disclosure, Community Service, Employment Loss:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

State New York
Type City
Population 11582
Comments are closed.