Joint Investigation Led by AG’s Organized Crime Task Force and NYPD’s Human Trafficking Team Marks First Time AG Has Charged Newly Enacted Crime
BRONX – Attorney General Letitia James today announced the arrest of Paul Alexander, 57, of the Bronx, a Level 3 Sex Offender, for sex trafficking children throughout New York City. Alexander’s arrest is the result of a joint investigation between the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF) and the New York City Police Department’s (NYPD) Vice Major Case Squad, Human Trafficking Team. This marks the first time Attorney General James has charged a defendant with the newly enacted crime of Sex Trafficking of a Child, which strengthens prosecutors’ ability to hold sex traffickers accountable.
“There is nothing more reprehensible than sexually exploiting a child,” said Attorney General James. “This individual’s alleged actions jeopardized the health and safety of our children and highlighted the critical need for these new protections that strengthen our ability to hold perpetrators accountable for these gross violations of the law. I thank the NYPD for their partnership in this investigation, and I will continue to use all the tools at my office’s disposal to hold accountable those who seek to abuse our children.”
“The NYPD and our law enforcement partners share a commitment to protect the survivors of child trafficking, and we will continue to fight on behalf of our society’s most vulnerable individuals,” said NYPD Police Commissioner Dermot Shea. “I thank and commend the NYPD detectives involved in this investigation and the New York State Office of the Attorney General for their efforts to ensure child predators are taken off our streets. The NYPD will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to eradicate the trafficking of children in our city and work to bring justice to victims of these heinous crimes.”
The investigation was named “Operation Mile High” after investigators revealed Alexander was listed as the C.E.O. of Central Jet Charter, a private aircraft charter company. Through the use of covert recording devices, social media, and undercover operations, the investigative team determined that Alexander was, in fact, trafficking children across county lines for sex. The initial investigation began in March after a female minor reported Alexander to the NYPD, alleging that Alexander sexually abused her and other underage girls, and promoted them for prostitution to other men. An undercover police officer met with Alexander who charged him a total of $300 for sexual intercourse with a 12-year-old victim and a 14-year-old victim — and encouraged the undercover officer to use alcohol and marijuana to make the victims more cooperative.
The defendant was arraigned today before Bronx County Criminal Court Judge Michael Hartofilis on a felony complaint, in which he is charged with multiple counts of Sex Trafficking of a Child, Attempted Sex Trafficking of a Child, related counts of First and Second Degrees of Promoting Prostitution, and two counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child. Alexander faces up to 50 years in prison if convicted of the top counts. Additionally, he was remanded and ordered to return to court on December 8, 2020. Both Sex Trafficking of a Child and First Degree Promoting Prostitution are class B felonies, and Sex Trafficking of a Child is a violent felony offense.
The felony complaint charge against the defendant is an allegation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
Attorney General James thanks Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark for her office’s assistance in this investigation.
The NYPD investigation was led by Detectives Antonio Pagan and Liam O’Hara, under the supervision of Lieutenant Amy Capogna, who oversees the NYPD’s Vice Enforcement Unit of the Human Trafficking Team. Captain Thomas Milano is the Executive Officer and Inspector Neteis Gilbert is the Commanding Officer of the Vice Enforcement Division.
The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) investigation was led by OCTF Investigator Ramon Almodovar and Supervising Investigator Paul Grzegorski, under the supervision of OCTF Assistant Chief John Sullivan and since-retired Deputy Chief Christopher Vasta. The Investigations Division is led by Chief Oliver Pu-Folkes.
The OAG case is being prosecuted by OCTF Assistant Deputy Attorney General Caitlin Carroll, with assistance from Analyst Stephanie Tirado, under the supervision of Deputy Bureau Chief Lauren Abinanti and aided by Crime Victims Assistance Coordinator Priscilla Tavares. Nicole Keary is the Deputy Attorney General in Charge of OCTF. The Division for Criminal Justice is led by Chief Deputy Attorney General Jose Maldonado and overseen by First Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy.