Six former members of the Philadelphia Police Dept.’s narcotics unit have been federally indicted, charged with using robbery, kidnapping and other tactics to shake down more than a half-million dollars worth of cash, property and drugs from suspected drug dealers.
The 26-count indictment’s unsealing was announced during a Wednesday morning news conference.
The former Narcotics Field Unit cops were “abusing their official positions to rob and extort suspected drug dealers and to fabricate police reports, covering up their illegal activities,” U.S. District Attorney Zane Memeger said.
They’re accused of “engaging in a racketeering conspiracy that included multiple acts of robbery, extortion, kidnapping, and drug-dealing,” the local U.S. attorney added.
Charged are Thomas Liciardello, 38, Brian Reynolds, 43, Michael Spicer, 46, Perry Betts, 46, Linwood Norman, 46, and John Speiser, 42.
The police department says the six veteran officers had a combined 120 years of service on the force, 71 of them in narcotics.
Feds say the alleged conspiracy ran from February 2006 until November 2012, and included officers entering and searching suspected drug dealers’ homes — sometimes while they were detained in jail cells — or stopping their cars on the road and robbing occupants.