“HONEY….I’M GOING TO BE LATE FOR DINNER!”
Seventeen Baltimore police officers are accused of receiving $300 for each vehicle they steered to a repair shop not authorized to tow vehicles from accident scenes, authorities said Wednesday.
The shop’s two owners, also charged, allegedly paid officers to arrange for their company, rather than a city-authorized firm, to tow damaged vehicles to their shop, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Baltimore.
“The criminal complaint alleges that the officers were secretly working for a private auto repair business when they were supposed to be working for the police department and the citizens of Baltimore,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein in a statement. “Police officers cross a bright line when they take payments from private citizens in connection with their official duties.”
The defendants are charged with conspiracy to commit extortion, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years.
Hernan Alexis Moreno Mejia, 30, and his brother, Edwin Javier Mejia, 27, operate Majestic Auto Repair Shop LLC, which, according to the statement, was not authorized to tow vehicles in the city.
According to an affidavit filed with the complaint, the police officers received about $300 for each vehicle they steered to Majestic. According to the affidavit, during the two-year scheme, officers received payments totaling from $300 to more than $14,400.
Federal investigators were arresting Baltimore officers Wednesday, said Special Agent Rich Wolf, a spokesman for the FBI.
Rosenstein, the FBI and Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III were planning a press conference later Wednesday.
WHO YOU ASK?
Eddy Arias, 39, of Catonsville;
Eric Ivan Ayala Olivera, 35, of Edgewood;
Rodney Cintron, 31, of Middle River;
Jhonn S. Corona, 32, of Rosedale;
Michael Lee Cross, 28, of Reisterstown;
Jerry Edward Diggs, Jr., 24, of Baltimore;
Rafael Concepcion Feliciano Jr., 30, of Baltimore;
Jaime Luis Lugo Rivera, 35, of Aberdeen;
Kelvin Quade Manrich, 41, of Gwynn Oak;
Luis Nunez, 33, of Baltimore;
Samuel Ocasio, 35, of Edgewood;
David Reeping, 41, of Baltimore;
Jermaine Rice, 28, of Owings Mills;
Leonel Rodriguez Torres, 31, of Edgewood;
Marcos Fernando Urena, 33, of Baltimore;
Osvaldo Valentine, 38, of Edgewood;
Henry Yambo, 28, of Reisterstown.
Should be a fun evening for this bunch.