Law & Order Special Victims Unit s23e17 Episode Script

Once Upon a Time in El Barrio

1 In the criminal justice system, sexually based offenses are considered especially heinous.
In New York City, the dedicated detectives who investigate these vicious felonies are members of an elite squad known as the Special Victims Unit.
These are their stories.
How long do we have to wait? They'll call us, and speak English.
Show them we're ready for New York.
How many girls do they need? What if they don't pick us? Ay, for a modeling job? No one's prettier than you.
We all go together.
Birds of a feather.
Valeria Acevedo.
So, Valeria, tell me, why do you want to go to New York? Someday, I want to dance, sing, act.
My name in lights like the movies.
Well, you're certainly pretty enough.
And all these school plays? You must be very talented.
But New York can be a lonely place.
Oh, my friends and I want to live together.
Well, then, let's make your dreams come true.
Our fee is $5,000.
I, I only have 500.
Oh, that's a shame.
Is there anyone, that you can borrow the money from? I don't think so.
There might be something I can do.
What are we doing here? Listen up.
We need your IDs, jewelry, phones, money.
Put them in the bag.
It's been a long trip.
Take this.
I'm not taking this or giving you my phone.
It doesn't belong to you.
Everything belongs to me.
Get this, you don't ask, you do.
Take the pill.
Leave her alone.
Maribel! - No, no.
- No.
- Maribel! - Maribel, please.
No, no.
- Get up, get up.
- No, no, no.
- Maribel! - No, no.
Stop! - No.
- Mari.
Anyone else have something to say? No, no.
My sister has plans for you, or you'd be dead too.
Still no Rollins? I thought her mother was doing better.
No, she is, I think I think everyone just needed a break.
And Carisi, is taking Rollins and her girls, to Orlando, for a couple days.
- The things we do for love.
- Right? I've been meaning to ask you about Stabler.
They booted him out of OC? Why? What, uh - What are you hearing? - Nothing good.
He's not calling me back.
You talk to him? Fin, uh, what if I told you not to worry, about Stabler, or me, or Sorry to interrupt.
- Velasco, are you okay? - No, not really.
I'm talking to my parish priest in Juarez, Father Daníel.
He needs our help.
Sorry, Fin.
Hi, Father.
I'm Captain Benson.
This is Sergeant Tutuola.
Yes, José has spoken of both of you.
How can we help you, Father? Three teenage girls have gone missing, from my parish.
They were being smuggled into New York.
Valeria, Maribel, and Sofia.
Did they tell you their plan for crossing the border? Some arrangement, nothing legal.
Three days go by.
I don't hear from the girls.
Valeria sends me this voicemail.
Maribel! It sounds like they're being tortured, and I have to do something, besides just pray.
So where are we on these girls? Juarez PD ran Father Daníel's phone.
They think that Valeria's call came from East Harlem.
Okay, so we know that they made it to New York.
- That's a start.
- But they're off the grid.
All three girls' phones are dead.
Juarez PD is tracking the numbers.
And what about hospitals, the morgue? No females match the description.
We have a call into the local precinct.
Was Juarez PD able to tell you who helped them over the border? No, not yet.
I mean, there's hundreds of traffickers that work in Juarez, it's a whole industry.
The PD is trying to narrow it down.
And you trust those cops? I mean, how could crews operate on that scale if the law wasn't paid off or corrupt? Because there's still a few left that are honest.
There's more than a few.
Hold on.
This is 2-9 responding.
Sergeant Tutuola, SVU.
- Copy that.
- They find them? Badly burnt body of a young female was found in a lot, near the East River.
Matches the description.
I'm sorry, Velasco.
Who called it in? Homeless guy found her.
Someone set this girl on fire, tried to hide the body under some skids.
- No witnesses.
- Any security footage? Yeah, full color, 4K.
Yeah, we get it.
Hope you liked your breakfast, 'cause you might see it again.
Might not be able to ID her.
Gonna have to wait on DNA and dental.
No, hold on.
It's the same silver cross, handmade in Cuervos.
It's Maribel.
I'm gonna have to call Father Daníel.
I got bad news, Padre.
It's Maribel.
I'm so sorry.
What happened to her? Doesn't matter.
She's gone.
Valeria, Sofia? Nothing yet, but we know where to look now.
I'll be praying for them and for you.
Thank you, Padre.
Hey, how's Father Daníel doing? He's a wreck.
His heart is broken.
Valeria Acevedo's parents were murdered by the cartel.
She was raised by Father Daníel and the nuns.
I mean, he was basically a surrogate dad to all the kids.
You too? Yeah.
You know, when I got in trouble with the gangs, he helped me by hiding in his church.
And he helped my mom get me to the U.
You know, these girls, they just wanted a better life.
I know, and we will keep working the case.
Look, I already spoke to the captain at the 2-9, and we will meet with him tomorrow, okay? Tomorrow? Why don't you give me clearance as a UC, and I can go back to East Harlem tonight? The 2-9 wants to work with SVU, and they know the neighborhood.
So do I.
Velasco You've had a tough day, man.
Why don't you just go home and get some rest? That's an order.
Hey, baby, you want a date? You're beautiful, but I'm looking for Mexican girls.
Mexican chiquitas? You're in the wrong place for that.
Look, baby, you're jamming up my traffic.
Try Paladino Avenue for that flavor.
- Paladino? - Sí.
Got it.
Mexican, young? You want a kid, instead of a woman? There's some Spanish girls working by All Souls.
Valeria? You can call me whatever you want.
You work here a lot? I'm around.
What are you looking for? I just want to talk.
My time is money.
How about 15 minutes? 50 bucks.
We go back to my place, you can do whatever you want.
Or I walk away right now.
Wait, no.
Hold on.
I got the cash.
Thank you.
Hands above your head! Whoa, whoa, whoa.
- Hands up.
- I'm on the job.
- Hold on, hold on.
- And so am I, Detective Rosanny Chávez.
You are under arrest.
Wait, I'm doing an investigation.
Yeah, so am I.
Turn around.
Why don't you find my badge and my gun? Captain, we have an NYPD detective.
Everything all right here, Chávez? I'm on the job.
SVU, Detective Velasco.
Okay, I get it, Detective Velasco.
- So I can go? - Sure.
It's all on film, I toss you back, I get jammed up.
Listen, Cap, you got to believe me.
I'm looking for girls that are trafficked from Juarez.
You talking about the girl that was burned? - Yeah.
- Yeah, I talked to your captain, Benson.
She didn't tell me she was sending in a UC.
She didn't exactly know about this.
Okay, but see, that doesn't sound good either, does it? You're on the job, but your CO doesn't know? Nah Doesn't cut it.
Either way, he's under arrest? Yup.
You're entitled to one phone call.
I'd make it to your captain.
Captain Benson, nice to meet you in person.
Don Kubiak.
Welcome to my house.
And this is Sergeant Tutuola.
- How you doing? - Yes, sir.
Well - Sorry about your detective.
- Oh, that's not on you, Captain.
Although for what it's worth, Velasco is taking this case personally.
Yeah, I got that, but I had to hold the guy - until someone vouched for him.
- Of course.
Said he didn't want to call you, until the morning, 'cause he didn't want to wake you.
At least he got that right.
Oh, yeah.
This is Detective Rosanny Chávez.
Oh, the UC who arrested him.
Sorry to cause trouble, a lot of times, when I bust a cop, they claim they're doing an investigation.
Well, in this case, he actually was, even though, I told him not to.
Well, we'll give you a minute alone with your cowboy.
Thank you.
Excuse me.
Hey, Cap.
I'm sorry.
McGrath's not happy, and neither am I.
And if we weren't short-staffed, Velasco, I'd take you off this case.
It's not gonna happen again.
So, uh, the girls from Juarez, - just got here? - Within the week.
They usually put these girls to work right away, but not on the streets.
Can we look at your mug shots, just in case? Sure.
Okay, I'll go get them.
Thank you.
Here are the women we did arrest.
Older, on the streets a long time, not your vics.
Look, you were right, Chávez.
I mean, forget the streets.
He advertises them online on these niche sites.
Work them out of motels, drive them to out-calls.
Online sites, you're looking for needles in a haystack.
Well, maybe we should start with the Mexican community.
Drivers, delivery guys, I mean, somebody's seen them.
No doubt, but they're mostly undocumented.
They're not talking to the police.
Not if they're in uniform, but I was a community affairs officer for two years.
You have contacts? We can start with Señora.
Her place is a little walk, but it's got the best coffee and chisme in town.
Chisme? What's that, pastry? It means gossip.
Even better.
So this was your idea of a little walk? - Fin - It'll be worth it.
Juana Ramírez is the soul of this neighborhood.
If anything's going on, she'll know about it.
Okay, I'm gonna wait out here.
Nobody likes a bakery full of cops.
Get me a coffee and some chisme.
You keep going that like, you'll break a hand.
Rosanny, are these officers with you? I'm Captain Benson.
This is Detective Velasco.
We're with SVU.
SVU? I wish you'd come up here before that poor girl got killed.
So do I.
Sounds like you tried to help them.
No one else would.
Please, Señora.
Detective Velasco, he's from Juarez, and he may know some of the girls.
And you got out? Well, I had a lot of help, unlike these girls.
Good for you.
So what can you tell us about them? A new group comes in here every few weeks.
Young, pretty, usually in maid uniforms from that motel by the river, but, they do more than cleaning.
Okay, and do they come in alone? No, never.
Always with that man.
30s, cabezón.
Bald head Cold eyes.
The girls are quiet around him, afraid.
I give them coffee, sneak bread, so they have something to keep them going.
You recognize any of them? No, I'm sorry, I never forget a face.
If they do come in, or, any other girls that you're worried about, please call me.
Anytime, day or night.
- Of course.
- Thanks.
And here Pan dulce.
To keep you all going.
Gracias, Señora.
I never seen.
I have to work.
Are you sure? You can trust me.
Come on, man, work with us.
Or we'll nickel and dime you to death with building violations.
I just started here.
I don't know what you're talking about.
Oh, no.
No, no, no, no.
- Policía - Listen, we just want to talk to you.
From Juarez.
Lucía I know you're scared.
But if you help us, we can help you.
You were good with her.
Thanks, but I think she's scared of men.
You know, maybe she'll open up to you, if you're alone.
Yeah, I'll let you know.
- Thanks, Velasco.
- Yeah.
One of the girls, Lucía We thought she recognized Maribel in the photo, but, she wouldn't say.
Chávez went back to try on her own.
Okay, get Lucía's name, and her description, to Father Daníel, and Juarez PD.
See if anybody knows who she is.
The place was quiet.
No johns, no dealers.
Somebody might've tipped them off.
Detective Chávez? Yeah.
Lucía's willing to talk.
Tell her we'll meet her, anywhere she wants.
Come in, come in.
I'm worried.
They should be here already.
She just texted.
- They're on their way.
- I hope so.
So how long have you known Detective Chávez? Rosanny? She worked here when she was in high school, but, she was very awful in the kitchen, got fired.
She turned out okay.
They're across the street.
- I'll get the door.
- All right.
Should we let them in? - Watch out! - Hey, watch out! No! 10-13, 10-13, officer down.
110 and Pleasant.
Rush a bus.
Where'd the girl go? La niña? Rosanny, hold on.
Stay with us, Rosanny.
Rosanny, stay with us.
Honey, stay with us.
At Mercy Hospital A tragedy.
A tragedy following Ended the life of an NYPD detective.
Captain Kubiak, we just heard, and we are, so sorry for your loss.
I thought she was gonna make it.
She was on the table for three hours.
Rosanny was the heart of the 2-9.
We're gonna find whoever did this.
Uh You know Counselor Baptiste.
Yeah, we've worked our share of homicides.
But one of our own, even worse.
Where are we on witnesses? We went back to the Sky High Motel.
The clerk said all the girls were moved out last night.
We're pulling traffic cam footage on every street in East Harlem.
We do have one eyewitness, Lucía.
Yeah, we saw her get hit.
She must've run away.
She may be injured.
Check hospitals, clinics.
Find her before the traffickers do.
So sorry.
Rosanny loved this neighborhood, wanted to make it better.
We're really sorry, Señora.
We need to find Lucía.
She's hurt and hasn't showed up in any ERs.
That's what detectives from Rosanny's precinct said.
They were here.
I didn't tell them anything.
Well, can you tell us? Is there a clinic, where the undocumented go? We trusted Rosanny.
Can we trust you? Excuse me.
Can I help you? Yeah, I got hit by a delivery guy on an electric bike, and I think I might've broken my arm.
I don't have insurance, but Señora told me - Señora? - Yeah.
- Come with me, please.
- Thank you.
Um, how long do you think it'll be? The doctor's just finished with another broken arm.
She'll be with you soon.
Thank you.
No, no policía.
- Lucía, look at me, hey.
- No.
I don't want to hurt you.
I just want to talk to you.
Leave me alone, please.
- Listen to me.
- Please? You can trust me.
I just want to talk to you, okay? All right? Just let me go.
Am I under arrest? No, no, honey, of course not.
- We just want to help you.
- How? By sending me back? - No.
- They'll just kill me.
I owe them money.
Who? Lourdes.
Her brother, Jorge.
Jorge, Lourdes.
Do they have a last name? You gotta trust us.
It's okay.
Padilla, but, you can't tell them I told you.
We won't.
Lucía, we want to help you.
We want to find you a safe place to stay.
What about the other girls? Listen, you help us find those girls, and we'll get them out too.
Why do you care so much? My priest in Juarez knows Valeria and Sofia.
Valeria called him personally about Maribel.
It's how we found you.
Well, you'll never find the other girls.
They're going to sell all the girls to another ring.
They took them away.
Where? Do you know where? I don't know, but maybe the policeman does.
What policeman? He's a captain.
Jorge says that's, why we have to have sex with him.
Do whatever he wanted.
Last night, I told Detective Chávez, and she said she was going to tell you.
Captain Kubiak, thank you for coming in on such short notice.
Of course.
- Busy out there.
- Yeah.
So, uh, I know that we're all still grieving, but um, ADA Baptiste is on his way in, and we're putting together a task force.
Yeah, I get it, and I was, uh, I was looking through Rosanny's DD5s, her notes.
She was on her way to meet you guys.
You know what that was about? She might've thought Velasco could get Lucía to open up.
Any luck finding this Lucía, is it? She hasn't shown up in any ERs? We're just hoping that the traffickers haven't found her yet.
Poor girl.
Velasco is trying to connect with her family in Juarez, get a cell phone.
He's really tied in down there.
- That's good.
- He's been talking to Juarez PD.
Captains, Sarge, good news.
- Great.
- Oh, we could use it.
So I'm working on a tip.
This woman, Lourdes Padilla, runs a bogus modeling agency out of Juarez, that lured in all the girls.
She's in Mexico.
How does that help us? Well, her brother, Jorge Padilla, runs the operation from here.
He handles all the girls, pimps them out.
Pimps them out? From East Harlem? Captain, is there any chance that one of your CIs knows him, picked him up? He doesn't look familiar.
- Juarez get a number? - Yup.
It's a burner.
TARU's triangulating.
Let me get a photo out to my guys.
Hold on.
I got something.
I got a list of numbers Jorge called in the last 48 hours.
Most of them are in Mexico, but some are local.
Takeout places and several motels.
There's a lot of Suffolk County area codes here.
Lot of MS-13 in Suffolk County.
Could be.
We still run those numbers? Yup.
On it.
You gonna get that? Oh.
Oh, it's just my wife.
Actually It's a cell phone number that Jorge called a dozen times in the last week.
The last one, was at 9:00 a.
this morning.
That's your life sentence calling, dude.
Do you have anything to say? Screw you.
Also, lawyer.
I got the judge to sign off on warrants for Kubiak's cell phone, computer, and his office.
We will also run his financials.
My guess is, that it's more about access to these girls, than it is bribery.
I pulled his jacket.
He's got a bad pedigree.
Multiple allegations over 20 years.
And he got promoted to captain? Oh, come on, you know how that goes.
I mean, the old-boy network.
Union protections.
The one case that did get filed against him it got tossed, because of qualified immunity.
What about the girl you picked up? Lucía, the one who accused Kubiak.
We have her in protective custody, and we need to bring her in for a lineup.
Right, because we need as much leverage against this guy, as we can get.
You just take your time, Lucía.
How much longer is this guessing game going to go on, Captain? We don't want to rush to judgment, now, do we, Counselor? Can he see me? - No.
- No.
You're safe here.
Number four.
Number four, please step forward.
That's him.
The policeman who made Us have sex with him.
Good job.
You want a moment with your client, or do we take him straight to arraignment? This is a setup.
A prostitute's word against an NYPD captain? She's a trafficking victim.
I'd watch myself, Counselor.
I meant no disrespect to the girl, but you have no evidence.
Oh, I have Lucía's word, and she can describe your client's genitals in pretty specific detail.
We can do the full forensic exam now Or, maybe Captain Kubiak wants to get ahead of all that.
Everything with Lucía, was consensual.
So you paid her? No, she was more like a girlfriend.
Really? And the other girls? What other girls? I don't know them.
You do know them, but, what we need to know, is where they are now.
My client is telling you everything he knows.
No, he's not.
Look, we're gonna go through your phone records, through your burner, we're gonna get a history, of everyone that you've seen, and every single phone call that you've made in the last ten years.
Do you really think that we don't know that you're lying? - Don't insult us.
- Well I never raped anyone.
Is that what you tell yourself? That these brutalized, terrorized little girls, like, servicing you? There is no need to get nasty.
You're right.
We know he's a dirty cop, trading protection for sex, and a little tip money.
- Let's move on.
- Yes, let's.
So, the only question on the table Is, how complicit were you, in the death of your own detective? How dare you? None of this happens, Rosanny is alive today, if you people hadn't started sticking you nose in it.
Is that your take on it? You are disgusting.
You know what? You should be giving me more respect, because maybe, I can get you to these girls, before they are shipped out to God knows where, to do God knows what.
- We're listening.
- Wait a minute.
What kind of deal are we talking about? He'll put in his papers, but he wants immunity, - full retirement.
- For rape? - Depends on his information.
- Are you kidding me? I didn't rape anyone.
How many times do I have to tell you that? Sorry to interrupt.
Well, we've got some new information here, that might move us along.
Your girlfriend, Lucía, is 15 years old.
You can't prove that.
Juarez PD is sending us her birth certificate right now.
Trafficking, murder of a cop, rape, of a minor.
Captain, I think that you should think about, what life, for a pedophile cop, is gonna be like in prison.
Well played in there.
I wasn't playing.
Are you kidding me? I can't believe, that you're even thinking, about giving this piece of crap, any kind of deal.
The priority is to find the girls, - and arrest the traffickers.
- And you trust him? We don't have a choice.
We're ready to go.
You tip them off, I shoot you myself.
My client wants to get to Jorge as much as you do.
And this number we're calling that's another phone for Jorge? No, it's Jorge's driver, Ossiel.
A burner.
Signal's moving around Yonkers.
Make the call.
Tell Ossiel to get Jorge on the line.
Capitán? Yeah, I need Jorge.
Calling me with all this heat? - Is it safe? - You know what's not safe? Taking out a NYPD detective.
I'm working overtime, finding her killer.
Not my problem.
You were supposed to scare her, not mow her down.
I don't know what you're talking about.
I got bigger problems.
They picked up Lourdes in Juarez.
Yeah, I know.
You know? How? You rat my sister out to save your own ass? Are you crazy, man? I'm keeping my mouth shut.
The reason I'm calling, is I found Lucía.
She has a broken arm.
As long as the rest of her works.
I might be able to bring her to you, but, I'm gonna need a taste.
Don't you always? Bring Lucía up to Yonkers.
I got a buyer for Valeria, and the other girls in Buffalo.
How you gonna move them? If they have your sister, they might be looking for you.
You can't be driving a van filled with illegals right now.
What do you suggest? Let me drive the girls to Buffalo.
Anyone pulls me over, I flash my shield.
They let me drive on.
Okay, but, I'm coming with you.
Fine Fine, where's the girls now? How about you pick up a new burner? Get to the sawmill.
I'll figure out a new meeting place.
No, Jorge, I just need Signal lost.
Looks like we're going for a ride.
You okay, Detective? I'll be better when we get these guys.
There they are.
You go first.
Unarmed? You got a vest on, plus I'll be right behind you.
And remember, if they ask, I'm the buyer from Chihuahua.
Where's our backup? They're out of sight until we get the girls.
They might want to take a look at Lucía.
I'll keep my face covered.
Okay, here we go.
This is a lot for Velasco.
He grew up with cartels in Juarez.
He's got this.
Let me see your hands now.
Let me see your hands.
Okay, we all have our hands up.
You happy now? Who the hell is this? Oh, that's José.
He's up from Chihuahua.
He's in the same line of work as you in New Haven.
Maybe we can get this done, without driving six hours, to Buffalo.
Where's the girls? Where's Lucía? Follow us.
Tell Jorge to get his ass out here with the girl.
Here she is.
Where's the rest of the girls? Let's make this deal first.
What's he saying? He said he wants to pay 40, not 50.
Your girl, Lucía, is damaged goods.
Put them in the van.
What about my money? You'll get it from him.
Change of plans.
We're still driving to Buffalo.
Hold up, Jorge.
Let's not do this.
I'm owed.
Drop it.
- Police.
- What the hell? Drop it.
You too.
Drop the gun.
Kubiak, you son of a bitch.
You can take your chances with us, Jorge, or, you can stay alive, and take your chances in court.
It's over.
Drop it.
It's okay.
You're safe.
You're safe.
Come, come.
We found Valeria and Sofia.
They're safe.
Thank God.
My captain wanted the families to know right away.
Thank you.
Thank you for finding our girls, José.
Of course, Padre.

Previous EpisodeNext Episode