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Sherri Lyodon

U.S. Attorney Sherri Lydon announces indictments against four Orangeburg County deputies, two Springfield police officers and others during a press conference in Columbia.

Four Orangeburg County deputies, two Springfield officers and three others are facing a variety of federal bribery and drug charges, the U.S. attorney for South Carolina announced Friday.

Some are accused of making fake crime reports to help people stay in the country illegally. Others are accused of taking bribes to protect drug dealers’ shipments.

"We will not tolerate the hypocrisy of those who pretend to enforce the law while violating it themselves all to line their pockets," U.S. Attorney Sherri Lydon said during a press conference Friday where she announced the charges.

"We call that public corruption and we will always call that out,” she said.

Those indicted and the charges are:

• 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.

• James Albert Tucker, who represented himself as an Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office reserve deputy: 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: conspiracy.

• Tarang Patel of Newport, Kentucky: conspiracy and visa fraud.

One of the alleged schemes involved fraudulent U Nonimmigrant Visas (“U-Visas”), which are set aside for victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse as a result of the crime. To obtain a U-Visa, a law enforcement official must certify that the alien is assisting that law enforcement agency in the investigation or prosecution of the crime of which the alien was a victim.

According to the indictment, four officers helped individuals obtain fraudulent U-Visas by taking bribes for fraudulent certifications and creating fraudulent incident reports indicating that aliens were victims of crimes.

The bribes included a laptop, Xbox and smart speakers.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office also alleges officers took bribes in exchange for protecting methamphetamine and cocaine or the proceeds of drug trafficking.

Hunter, Tucker, Timmons, Shazier, Jenkins and Franklin allegedly “accepted bribes for protecting tractor-trailers containing what they believed to be narcotics trafficking proceeds,” the indictment says. It also alleges that Hunter, Tucker, Shazier, Jenkins and Franklin agreed to protect tractor-trailers in the future containing kilogram quantities of methamphetamine and cocaine.

The defendants were indicted by a federal grand jury on March 19, but the indictments remained under seal until Thursday. They were arrested Friday.

According to the South Carolina U.S. Attorney's Office, Jenkins, Hunter, Franklin, Timmons, Shazier and Tucker could face a maximum penalty of life in federal prison if they’re convicted. Rogers, Saurabhkumar Patel and Tarang Patel face a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment if they’re convicted.

“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,” Lydon said.

The investigation was led by the FBI, with assistance from ICE-Homeland Security Investigations and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys William Camden Lewis and Alyssa Leigh Richardson of the Columbia office.

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