Man Charged with Driving Prostitutes to Putnam

FBI says suspect had 383 contacts in Brewster

A Queens man was charged on Jan. 29 with being a driver for a prostitution ring that served Putnam County, specifically Brewster.

In a complaint unsealed on Wednesday (Feb. 3), an FBI agent testified that Teodoro Rojas Lopez, also known as Leonardo Martinez, arranged appointments by text messages or WhatsApp. Federal prosecutors said Lopez had been driving prostitutes from Queens to Putnam County for seven years and had contact information for 383 Brewster residents on his iPhone.

In messages, he described the women as being from Mexico or Costa Rica. The FBI said Lopez told one client that the charge would be $100 for 30 minutes.

When interviewed by the FBI in August, Lopez admitted his involvement and said he was aware that many of the women he transported were being coerced or forced into prostitution, the agency said.

The FBI said agents observed Lopez drop off and pick up women to Brewster over a three-month period in early 2020, typically to apartments in multifamily houses. His stops included addresses on Main Street, Marvin Avenue, Carmel Avenue and Oak Street, according to the complaint.

Lopez, who was targeted as part of a larger investigation into a sex-trafficking operation in Queens, was arraigned on Wednesday and released on $50,000 bond.

In 2018 Lopez pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor drug charge and was sentenced to 15 months in jail following his arrest in Carmel while driving a car with two female passengers. He told officers that he driven the women to 12 prostitution appointments that day, the FBI said. After his release from jail, he resumed his work as a driver, the agency said.


Trust MarkHOW WE REPORT
The Current is a member of The Trust Project, a consortium of news outlets that has adopted standards to allow readers to more easily assess the credibility of their journalism. Our best practices, including our verification and correction policies, can be accessed here. Have a comment? A news tip? Spot an error? Email [email protected].

Leave a Reply

The Current welcomes comments on its coverage and local issues. Submissions are selected by the editor to provide a variety of opinions and voices, and all are subject to editing for accuracy, clarity and length. We ask that writers remain civil and avoid personal attacks. Submissions must include your first and last name (no pseudonyms), as well as a valid email address (which will not be published). Please allow up to 24 hours for an approved submission to be posted. All online comments may also appear in print.