An in-depth and widespread investigation into a gambling and prostitution ring has uncovered complicit behavior of at least seven New York City Police Officers. These officers, according to police reports, are all suspected of providing protection for the prostitution ring.

Three sergeants, two detectives, two officers and dozens of civilians were arrested as a result of this operation. Two additional officers were also implicated in the ring, but they were not arrested. They have been restricted to desk duty until the investigation is complete.

The investigation began back in April of 2015, and it was run by the New York Police Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau. An anonymous tipster told the Internal Affairs Bureau about their suspicions, and the tip launched the probe into the case. Unfortunately, one of those implicated in protecting the ring was working within the Internal Affairs Bureau until about five months ago. Police have yet to report whether this individual obstructed justice and helped prevent investigators from uncovering the truth.

More than 40 citizens were also taken into police custody and charged with multiple offenses like prostitution, gambling and other crimes. Incredibly, area residents reported knowing about these illegal brothels for a long time. Locals have continuously complained to both police and public officials that brothels were operating out of fake businesses like spas and bars. As soon as one illegal operation appeared to be closed down, another establishment was quick to pop up. Now, it’s become increasingly clear that police were not actually shutting down the operations but rather moving them to protect them.