UK & World News
Super Bowl: Cops Bust Cocaine And Sex Ring
Police in New York have arrested 18 people accused of selling "party packs" of cocaine and sex to high-end clients ahead of this week's Super Bowl festivities.
The arrests come amid heightened concerns over an increase in prostitution - a common problem for Super Bowl host cities as fans flock to the biggest US sports event of the year.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said the arrests followed an 11-month investigation by the state Organised Crime Task Force, the Department of Homeland Security and the NYPD.
Authorities said text messages to regular customers saying "new sexy & beautiful girls R in town waiting for u" were sent 10 days before Sunday's Super Bowl.
The group allegedly targets wealthy, out-of-town customers, with prostitutes bringing cocaine to clients who ordered the so-called party packs.
After clients were impaired by drugs, additional prostitutes would flood the rooms and repeatedly charge clients' credit cards, at times more than $10,000 (£6,000) for one night, authorities said.
Business records purportedly show that the ring laundered money and credit cards through clothing, beauty supply and limousine businesses.
With the Super Bowl at New Jersey's MetLife Stadium expected to draw tens of thousands of fans to the New York metro area, criminals have been looking for other ways to cash in as well.
On Thursday, the NFL and federal authorities seized $21.6m (£13m) worth of fake Super Bowl jerseys, hats and other items in a counterfeit goods crackdown.
Officials said the fake merchandise was shipped into the US from overseas.
Meanwhile, security officials said they have planned for a range of possible incidents, from a lone-wolf assault to a nuclear or biological attack.
They said experts from 100 local, state and federal agencies have been manning a security centre underneath the stadium, and any vehicle arriving at the complex has to go through thermal imaging.
Fans attending the NFL season finale will enter through metal detectors and may receive pat downs.
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