By Tony Aiello

BREWSTER, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Putnam County police officer is among those charged in a federal sex trafficking and bribery indictment.

Prosecutors say the officer accepted sex with young women as payment for protection.

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As CBS2’s Tony Aiello reports, federal prosecutors call it a “betrayal of the badge.”

In the quiet village of Brewster, veteran cop Wayne Peiffer is charged with protecting a sex trafficking ring that victimized young women, including minors.

“It’s shocking, very shocking,” Putnam County resident Susan Illescas said. “He just took whatever power he had within the police force, probably, and thought he had a way to get around the law.”

The indictment names Peiffer and five residents of Queens. Those five allegedly brought young women from Mexico to New York, promising good jobs then forcing them into prostitution, allegedly transporting the women to clients in Brewster and many other locations.

Investigators say Peiffer helped ringleaders steer clear of law enforcement. In return, they provided women for him to have sex with, sometimes driving them to the police station.

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Court documents say evidence against Peiffer includes hundreds of text messages exchanged with one of the accused sex traffickers.

In one, Peiffer asks about the physical characteristics of a young woman, adding, “Are you stopping at the station?”

A federal official says Peiffer was “complicit in these deplorable acts” against vulnerable women.

The U.S. Attorney says young women victimized in this crime are being offered help and support.

One of the Queens-based suspects in the alleged ring was not arrested Tuesday and is being labeled a fugitive.

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Peiffer was released on $300,000 bond.

Tony Aiello