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Seven law enforcement officers were indicted by the Department of Justice on Friday.
According to an indictment, seven South Carolina officers, including a police chief are officially facing charges as of Friday for allegedly taking bribes to falsify immigration documents and obtaining visas to protect drug dealers.
ABC News reported that the indictment was handed down by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina against members of the Springfield, South Carolina, Police Department and Orangeburg, South Carolina, County Sheriff’s Office.
“We will not tolerate the hypocrisy of those who pretend to enforce the law while violating it themselves, all to line their pockets,” Sherri A. Lydon, U.S. Attorney for the District of South Carolina, said at a press conference. “We call that public corruption and we will always call that out.”
The incidents are alleged to have taken place from February 2018 to February 2019 and the scheme is reported to have involved, fraudulently acquiring U Nonimmigrant Visas, “which are set aside for victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse as a result of the crime.” These documents require the immigrant to assist police in apprehending the suspect of those crimes to be eligible for the special visas. The officers are also alleged to have accepted laptops, X-Boxes, Amazon and Google speakers as gifts.
Springfield Police Chief Lacra Sharod Jenkins is the top officer charged in the case. He has also been slapped with charges of alleged visa fraud, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
ABC also reported that four deputies or reserve deputies with the Orangeburg Sheriff’s Office face the same four charges: Carolyn Franklin, Nathaniel Shazier III, Stanley Timmons, and James Tucker. Deputy Willie Rogers faces charges of conspiracy and visa fraud but was not involved in the drug offenses. Excluding Rogers, the other six law enforcement officers face a maximum of life in prison. If all of them are found guilty they would be required to pay back the money they took for bribes.