A South Carolina police chief and several officers have been charged with falsifying immigration documents in order to protect drug dealers.
Springfield Police Department Chief Lacra Sharod Jenkins 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.
Another officer, Allan Hunter Jr. was also charged with the same offenses.
Four deputies or reserve deputies with the Orangeburg Sheriff's Office are now facing the same charges. According to ABC, those officers have been identified as Carolyn Franklin, Nathaniel Shazier III, Stanley Timmons, and James Tucker.
Deputy Willie Rogers faces charges of conspiracy and visa fraud.
All officers the other six law enforcement officers face a maximum of life in prison except for Rogers, who was not charged with any drug offenses. If they are found guilty, they will be forced to pay back any money accepted as bribes.
The indictment claims that 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 indictment says that in addition to taking money, Rogers and Hunter both allegedly accepted gifts of laptops, X-Boxes and Amazon and Google speakers.
“With this Indictment, we honor the hard work and dedication of the very fine officers across South Carolina who put on the police uniform every day and risk their lives to protect the rest of us,” said U.S. Attorney Lydon.
“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. 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.”