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<table id="common_center_content" width="100%" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td style="margin: 0pt; padding: 0pt; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 19px;" align="left">South Suburban Police Corruption Probe </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="margin: 0pt; padding: 0pt; font-size: 9pt;" align="left">
</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="story_date_label" style="padding-top: 5px;"> Last Edited: Tuesday, 02 Dec 2008, 1:39 PM CST </td> </tr> <tr> <td class="story_date_label"> Created: Tuesday, 02 Dec 2008, 10:56 AM CST </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="padding-top: 5px;"> <!-- Begin Image displayed --> <!-- The extra outer div and img element will trigger reflow in FF --> <table align="right" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"> <tbody><tr> <td id="story_image">
</td> </tr> </tbody><caption class="story_image_caption" align="bottom">FBI</caption></table>
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Harvey, IL. -- Seventeen people -- including 15 south suburban police officers -- have been charged in a federal probe of allegations that officers provided armed security for large-scale drug deals.
All 17 were charged Tuesday with conspiracy to possess and distribute kilogram quantities of cocaine and/or heroin in eight separate criminal complaints unsealed following arrests early Tuesday, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney's office.
Seven of the eight complaints were supported by a single, 61-page FBI affidavit that outlines an undercover investigation that involved such activity as police officers protecting a high-stakes poker game, protecting transportation of large amounts of cash and two law officers actually selling powder cocaine, in addition to the routine activity of providing security for purported narcotics transactions, the release said.

Fourteen of the defendants were either arrested or surrendered Tuesday and are expected to appear at 3 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Mason in U.S. District Court.
Arrest warrants were issued for Ahyetoro A. Taylor, 28, of Joliet; and Jermaine E. Bell, 37, of Lynwood, Cook County Sheriff’s officers who are on active military duty with Army National Guard units in Afghanistan. Another defendant, Archie Stallworth, 36, of Harvey, a Harvey police officer, was arrested Nov. 19 but the charges remained under seal until Tuesday, the relase said. He was released on bond and a preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 4.

According to a release, a six-passenger, twin propeller engine aircraft flew on May 13 into west suburban DuPage Airport where three men awaited its arrival. Two of them -- Taylor and Raphael Manuel, both Cook County Sheriff’s Office Correctional Officers -- accompanied someone whom they believed brokered large-scale drug transactions but, in fact, was an undercover FBI agent, the release said. They boarded the aircraft, operated by two other undercover agents, and began counting packages of what was purported to be at least 80 kilograms of cocaine inside four duffel bags.
Taylor, Manuel and the undercover agent removed the duffels from the plane and took them through the airport lobby to the trunk of the agent’s car in the parking lot, the affidavit alleges. Taylor and Manuel, in a separate car, followed the agent to a nearby parking lot, where the agent parked and got into the officers’ vehicle. Together, the trio watched as yet another undercover agent arrived, removed the duffels and drove away. The FBI agent posing as the drug broker then paid Taylor and Manuel $4,000 each -- allegedly their most profitable payday in the corrupt relationship they began with the undercover agent at least a year earlier.

The undercover agent, while posing as an employee of a business in south suburban Harvey, was the hub in multiple spokes of police corruption in which Taylor and Manuel -- often together with other officers they recruited -- allegedly provided armed security for purported cocaine and heroin transactions throughout the south suburbs in 2007 and 2008, the affidavit alleges.
Of the 17 defendants, 10 are Cook County Sheriff’s correctional officers, four are Harvey police officers and one is a Chicago police officer. They allegedly accepted between $400 and $4,000 each on one or more occasions to serve as lookouts and be ready to intervene if real police or rival drug dealers attempted to interfere with transfers of cocaine and heroin, according to the affidavit.

“Ideally, it should be hard to find one corrupt police officer and it should never be easy to find 15 who allegedly used their guns and badges to protect people they believed were dealing drugs instead of arresting them,” U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald said in the rlease. “And the involvement of some in off-loading and delivering what they thought were large shipments of drugs flown in by plane is particularly shocking."

According to the common affidavit, the undercover agent paid a total of $44,000 to 16 of the defendants, not including an additional $1,000 to Stallworth. The largest shares allegedly were paid to Taylor ($15,000) and Manuel ($14,500), respectively, for providing security during alleged drug transactions.
Among the others charged were:
-- Tavis Ramsey, 31, of Chicago;
-- Dwayne Williams, 42, of Country Club Hills;
-- Antoine D. Dudley, 28, of Harvey, Harvey police officer;
-- James Engram, Jr., 41, of Calumet City, Harvey police officer;
-- Kyle T. Wilson, 31, of Chicago, Chicago police officer;
-- Timothy Funches, 26, of Bellwood, sheriff's officer;
-- Diallo Mingo, 34, of Calumet City, sheriff's officer;
-- Antwon Funches, 34, of Chicago, sheriff’s officer:
-- Antonio B. McCaskill, 30, of Harvey:
-- Richard O. Hall Jr., 35, of Chicago, sheriff's officer;
-- Robert L. Kelly, 32, of Glenwood, sheriff’s officer:
-- Daniel L. Lee, 31, of Chicago, sheriff's officer: and
-- Julius L. Scott Jr. , 34, of Richton Park, sheriff’s officer.
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