South Carolina police officers charged with taking bribes to falsify immigration papers


Posted on: March 30th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

iStock(SPRINGFIELD, S.C.) — Seven law enforcement officers, including one department’s police chief, were indicted Friday on charges they took bribes to falsify immigration statuses and obtain visas, according to the Department of Justice. Several of the officers were also charged with taking bribes to protect methamphetamine and cocaine traffickers.

The indictment was handed down by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina against members of the police department in Springfield, South Carolina, and the county sheriff’s office in Orangeburg, South Carolina.

“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.”

Springfield Police Department Chief Lacra Sharod Jenkins, the department’s top officer, was charged with conspiracy, visa fraud, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Springfield Officer Allan Hunter Jr. was charged with the same offenses.

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 found guilty, the defendants would also have to pay back the money from bribes.

According to the indictment, the scheme 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.” The immigrants must assist police in apprehending the suspect of those crimes to be eligible for the special visas.

The attorney’s office said the officers would take bribes to fill out forms with fake information and even falsify entire crime reports.

Saurabhkumar Patel, of Orangeburg, South Carolina, and Tarang Patel, of Newport, Kentucky, were charged for paying bribes to officers for the falsified immigration forms.
The incidents took place from February 2018 to February 2019.

As for the drug charges, officers allegedly accepted bribes 10 different times to protect tractor-trailers that were transporting illegal narcotics, according to the indictment.

The indictment says that in addition to taking money, Rogers and Hunter both allegedly accepted gifts of laptops, X-Boxes, and Amazon and Google speakers.

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