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Multiple SC Law Enforcement Officers Arrested In Immigration, Narcotics Racket

Seven cops accused of taking bribes …

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We challenged her last month to keep cracking down on public corruption, and once again she is answering the bell.

U.S. attorney Sherri Lydon joined with federal and state law enforcement officers on Friday to announce the latest indictments related to institutional malfeasance in South Carolina.

According to Lydon, multiple law enforcement officers in Orangeburg County, South Carolina have been accused of accepting bribes in exchange for their participation in a host of criminal activities – including obtaining visas to help undocumented aliens remain in the United States illegally.

Other charges related to officers’ alleged participation in a conspiracy to “possess with intent to distribute narcotics in exchange for bribes,” according to Lydon.

Flanked by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED), Lydon appeared on the steps of the Matthew J. Perry federal courthouse in Columbia, S.C. on Friday morning to announce the unsealing of a thirteen-count indictment charging seven law enforcement officers in connection with the various schemes.

The charges represent the latest chapter in an ever-expanding book of bad behavior involving those sworn to uphold the law in the Palmetto State.

Four of the officers facing charges in connection with the investigation are deputies of the Orangeburg County, S.C. sheriff’s office – while another is a reserve deputy with the agency. A sixth officer is a former Orangeburg County deputy who is currently employed by the Springfield, S.C. police department.

The seventh officer charged? Springfield police chief LaCra Jenkins.

Jenkins – who previously worked as an Orangeburg County sheriff’s deputy – is no stranger to scandal. Last June, he was controversially reinstated to his position as police chief less than a year after resigning amid charges related to misconduct in office.

Those charges stemmed from his work with the sheriff’s office.

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According to Lydon, one of the alleged schemes the accused officers participated in involved so-called “u-visas,” which are provided to crime victims and their immediate family members who have suffered mental or physical abuse and who are assisting law enforcement agencies in the investigation or prosecution of the crimes against them.

U-visas were established by the U.S. congress as part of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act, which was signed into law by former president Bill Clinton in October of 2000.

Lydon said the officers charged on Friday provided “fraudulent certifications” for these visas based on “fraudulent incident reports indicating that the aliens named were victims of crime.” This activity was allegedly undertaken in exchange for bribes.

She also stated that officers were paid bribes to protect methamphetamine and crack cocaine trafficking – including protecting tractor trailers that they “believed to contain proceeds from drug trafficking.”

Not all of the officers indicted on Friday were involved in both of the alleged rackets, Lydon noted.

Per a news release from Lydon’s office, those indicted were:

Springfield Police Department Chief Lacra Sharod Jenkins: Conspiracy, Visa Fraud, Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Controlled Substances, and Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime;

Springfield Police Department Officer Allan Hunter, Jr.: Conspiracy, Visa Fraud, Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Controlled Substances, and Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime;

Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Carolyn Colter Franklin: Conspiracy, Visa Fraud, Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Controlled Substances, and Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime;

Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Nathaniel Miller Shazier, III: Conspiracy, Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Controlled Substances, and Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime

Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Stanley Lavalle Timmons: Conspiracy, Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Controlled Substances, and Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime;

Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office Reserve Deputy James Albert Tucker: Conspiracy, Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Controlled Substances, and Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime;

Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Willie Paul David Rogers: Conspiracy and Visa Fraud;

Saurabhkumar B. Patel, of Orangeburg, South Carolina: Conspiracy; and

Tarang Patel, of Newport, Kentucky: Conspiracy and Visa Fraud.

If convicted, Jenkins, Hunter, Franklin, Timmons, Shazier, and Tucker would face a maximum penalty of life in federal prison.  Rogers, Saurabhkumar Patel, and Tarang Patel would face a maximum penalty of ten years in federal prison, where there is no parole.

As with anyone accused of committing any crime, all of these defendants are considered innocent until proven guilty by our criminal justice system – or until such time as any of them might wish to enter a pleading in connection with the charges filed against them.

“If these allegations are proved, these defendants do not deserve to wear the badge and should not be allowed to bring disrepute on the overwhelming majority of men and women in blue who serve South Carolina with integrity,” Lydon said. “We will not tolerate the hypocrisy of those who would pretend to enforce the law, while violating it themselves as they seek to line their own pockets.  We call that public corruption, and we will always call it out.”

Here are the indictments …

20190328-2-Indictment

-FITSNews

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