A Bronx couple was busted for running a sex ring out of their apartment and pimping out an underage girl, police said.
The Couple, Maurice Hines, 38, and 29-year-old Shurine Byron were charged with sex trafficking and promoting prostitution after cops raided their squalid University Heights apartment, police said. Hines was also charged with rape, and a 14-year-old girl found in the sex den during the Thursday raid told detectives she had been held captive and pimped out for more than two months, police sources said. More after the cut….
The rescued teen told cops Hines forced her to have sex for money with many men, and repeatedly threatened her at gunpoint when she tried to leave, police sources said, though cops did not find a firearm in the apartment. The teen said she had run away from home, but it was unclear how she wound up with Hines and Byron.
She was taken to North Central Bronx Hospital for observation. Another woman, Curintina Mulrain, 25, was also busted in the 2 p.m. raid. She may have been one of the prostitutes, sources said. A relative of Mulrain’s said that the woman left her home in Massachusetts five years ago and had travelled to Florida before winding up in the Bronx. She told her family she was working at a retail store in the city.
“I’m numb. I’m just numb,” the relative said. “This she did not have to do. She should be coming out of college.”
Cops were investigating whether other women had also been forced to work as prostitutes against their will at the University Ave. apartment, sources said. Neighbors said that Hines and Byron lived in a seedy second-floor pad that reeked of pot. A steady stream of men had been coming and going from the makeshift brothel in recent months, they said.
The building superintendent said that Hines and Byron were thousands of dollars behind in rent and had been living without electricity for more than a year.
“They were troubled,” Manuel Ortiz said. “They owed $10,000 in rent. They haven’t had lights in over a year.”
Ortiz added that he was told by the building’s management company Friday that neighbors had complained about the activity at the apartment. Maria Perez, 35, who lives across the hall from the couple, said she saw two men and two women led out of the apartment in handcuffs.
“It’s crazy,” Perez said of the arrests. “You live in an apartment next door, and you never know what’s going on around you. I have a family. It’s scary.”
Hines, Byron and Mulrain were expected to be arraigned Saturday morning.