7 SC law enforcement officers, 2 others indicted on visa fraud, drug charges

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COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) Nine people, including seven law enforcement officers, were indicted in federal court on Friday on visa fraud and drug charges.

According to a news release, one of the alleged schemes involved fraudulent U Nonimmigrant Visas, which are for victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse as a result of a 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, from the release. 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 indictment alleges that the officers took bribes in exchange for protecting methamphetamine and cocaine or the proceeds of drug trafficking.

The following people were charged in the indictment:

  • Chief Lacra Sharod Jenkins of the Springfield Police Department conspiracy, visa fraud, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime
  • Officer Allan Hunter, Jr., of the Springfield Police Department conspiracy, visa fraud, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime
  • Deputy Carolyn Colter Franklin of the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office conspiracy, visa fraud, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime
  • Deputy Nathaniel Miller Shazier, III, of the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office conspiracy, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime
  • Deputy Stanley Lavalle Timmons of the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office conspiracy, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime
  • Deputy James Albert Tucker of the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office conspiracy, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime
  • Deputy Willie Paul David Rogers of the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office conspiracy and visa fraud
  • Saurabhkumar B. Patel of Orangeburg, SC conspiracy
  • Tarang Patel, of Newport, Kentucky conspiracy and visa fraud

According to the release, Jenkins, Hunter, Franklin, Timmons, Shazier and Tucker could face a maximum penalty of life in federal prison if convicted.

Rogers, Saurabhkumar Patel and Tarang Patel could face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison if 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,” U.S. Attorney Sherri Lydon said. 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.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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