Defendant Allegedly Used Narcotics, Threats of Violence to Coerce Victims into Prostitution

LONG ISLAND STRONG reports 4.25.2019 (CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y.) – Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini and the Suffolk County Police Department today announced the indictment of a Sound Beach man for allegedly conducting a human trafficking operation out of the basement of his parents’ house since at least December of 2014.

Raymond Rodio III, 47, is charged with seven counts of Sex Trafficking, a B felony; one count of Sex Trafficking, a B violent felony; one count of Promoting Prostitution in the Second Degree, a C felony; one count of Promoting Prostitution in the Third Degree, a D felony; and four counts of Promoting Prostitution in the Fourth Degree, an A misdemeanor.

“This is a dangerous and depraved individual,” District Attorney Sini said. “He kept women locked up in the basement of his parents’ house, using the basement as a dungeon. He preyed on women using their vulnerabilities and their drug dependencies to maintain his control over them. With this indictment, we are putting an end to his criminal operation and his victimization of over 20 women.”

“This man preyed on vulnerable women, using threats and drugs to manipulate them for his own financial gain,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart said. “I commend the department’s Narcotics Section and Human Trafficking Investigations Unit as well as the District Attorney’s Office for their hard work in holding Rodio accountable for his heinous crimes and giving these women a second chance at a new life.”

In August 2018, the Suffolk County Police Department identified a suspected victim of human trafficking during a routine traffic stop. An investigation by the Police Department’s Human Trafficking Investigations Unit revealed evidence that the victim had allegedly been forced into sex trafficking by Rodio in the spring of 2018.

Further investigation by the Human Trafficking Investigations Unit and the District Attorney’s Office’s Human Trafficking Team revealed that Rodio was allegedly trafficking women out of the basement of his parents’ residence, located on Lower Rocky Point Road in Sound Beach, since 2014. The investigation identified more than 20 victims of Rodio’s alleged sex trafficking operation.

Rodio would allegedly post advertisements on websites, including Backpage and Craigslist, promoting prostitution by the victims and would keep either a large percentage or all of the profits of their prostitution.

The investigation also revealed evidence that Rodio would allegedly occasionally keep victims in the basement for extended periods of time and force them to use a bucket as a toilet because the basement does not have a bathroom. The door to the basement has an exterior lock to which Rodio had the only key. In addition to the house, Rodio also allegedly forced the victims to perform prostitution at various motels throughout Suffolk County.

Rodio is alleged to have used threats of violence to force victims to continue engaging in prostitution on his behalf. He also allegedly provided his victims with heroin and crack cocaine before prostituting them to impair their judgment.

“This creates a vicious cycle that is extremely difficult for victims to break,” District Attorney Sini said. “That is precisely why my office and the Suffolk County Police Department have shifted the paradigm in how we deal with these cases. We treat the women as victims, because they are.”

The Suffolk County Police Department’s Narcotics Section, in conjunction with the Human Trafficking Investigations Unit, began a subsequent investigation into alleged drug dealing by Rodio. The investigation resulted in Rodio being indicted by the District Attorney’s Office on March 22 and charged with five counts of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a B felony.

Rodio was arraigned on the indictment in connection with the alleged human trafficking operation today by Suffolk County Acting Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho. Bail was set at $1 million cash or $2 million bond. He is due back in court on May 21.

If convicted of the top count, Rodio faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Daniel Cronin, of the Enhanced Prosecution Bureau’s Human Trafficking Team.

In 2017, District Attorney Sini, while serving as Commissioner of the Suffolk County Police Department, launched a pilot program in the department to target human traffickers. In 2018, Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart formally adopted the Human Trafficking Investigations Unit in the Suffolk County Police Department and District Attorney Timothy D. Sini launched a dedicated Human Trafficking Team within the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office’s Enhanced Prosecution Bureau. The two units work together, in collaboration with the Federal Bureau of Investigations and other law enforcement partners, to investigate, arrest and prosecute human traffickers.

“Ending human trafficking is a top priority of this administration,” District Attorney Sini said. “The horrors of human trafficking in Suffolk County must end and this case is a prime example of why we are focused on this issue.”

A criminal charge is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.