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17 Baltimore Police Officers Charged in Extortion Conspiracy with Repair Shop

U.S. Attorney alleges officers were paid to have vehicles towed to a specific repair shop.

Maryland's federal prosecutor today charged 17 Baltimore City police officers with steering auto repair and towing jobs to a Rosedale company in exchange for cash-- an extortion scheme that has been going on for more than two years.  

The Maryland U.S. Attorney’s office alleges the owners of the shop—brothers Herman Alexis Moreno Mejia and Edwin Javier Mejia—paid police to arrange for their company to tow and repair vehicles from accident scenes.

The Baltimore City Police Department requires vehicles towed from an accident scene to be taken by companies under contract with the city. The Mejias brothers’ shop, Majestic Auto Repair Shop LLC of Rosedale, does not have a city contract.

Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein's office alleges that officers falsified police reports to show that vehicle owners, not officers, arranged for Majestic to pick up damaged vehicles. The Mejias brothers would pay police officers cash or check "for steering the car owner to use Majestic for tow and automobile repair services," according to a press release.

Since January 2009, officers received payments totaling between $300 and $14,400.

"Police officers are supposed to be working for the police department, not the highest bidder," Rosenstein said. "Officers cross a bright line when they take payments from private citizens in connection with their official duties." 

The individuals charged in the case are:

  •         Hernan Alexis Moreno Mejia (Moreno), age 30, of Rosedale;
  •         Moreno’s brother, Edwin Javier Mejia, age 27, of Middle River;
  •         Eddy Arias, age 39, of Catonsville;
  •         Eric Ivan Ayala Olivera, age 35, of Edgewood;
  •         Rodney Cintron, age 31, of Middle River;
  •         Jhonn S. Corona, age 32, of Rosedale;
  •         Michael Lee Cross, age 28, of Reisterstown;
  •         Jerry Edward Diggs, Jr., age 24, of Baltimore;
  •         Rafael Concepcion Feliciano Jr., age 30, of Baltimore;
  •         Jaime Luis Lugo Rivera, age 35, of Aberdeen;
  •         Kelvin Quade Manrich, age 41, of Gwynn Oak;
  •         Luis Nunez, age 33, of Baltimore;
  •         Samuel Ocasio, age 35, of Edgewood;
  •         David Reeping, age 41, of Baltimore;
  •         Jermaine Rice, age 28, of Owings Mills;
  •         Leonel Rodriguez Torres, age 31, of Edgewood;
  •         Marcos Fernando Urena, age 33, of Baltimore;
  •         Osvaldo Valentine, age 38, of Edgewood; and
  •         Henry Yambo, age 28, of Reisterstown.

Each defendant faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the extortion conspiracy, according to a press release.

During the press conference announcing the arrest Tuesday, Baltimore City Police Commissioner Frederick Bealefeld said he doesn't view the arrests as a black eye for the department, but instead proof of its determination to ferret out corruption in its ranks. 

“I am privileged, and it is my distinct honor to represent 2,800 of the most selfless, dedicated men and women in the country, in the field of law enforcement," Bealefeld said. "But we just can’t give quarter to corruption. We can’t and won’t, and we will exhaust every means and every resource to eliminating it from our ranks.”

Buzz Beeler March 24, 2011 at 04:16 AM
Judging by the number of negative remarks you have received from members of this site, I would say people of your ilk are the reason for the much of the friction regarding this issue. Your are rude and condescending when engaging in numerous topics on this site. You just don't get it when people take you to task over your wise-guy attitude. That is why there will always be departments like ICE. http://www.ydr.com/ci_17673988?source=email This is why this country has laws, something that seems to escape you reasoning. You alluded that I would cut ESOL, as if the taxpayers should have to pay for teaching illegals the language, just like they are demanding we pay for their education. You will not accept anything as fact if it does not agree with your agenda. You did this in the FOX News story on the Hispanic Marine, who was a U.S. citizen and not an illegal. Now all of a sudden FOX has creditability. Do you know that according to some within the intelligence community that Mexico and the drug violence is now considered to be a bigger threat than Al Qaeda. I wonder what you have done in the service of your country? I would also assume that the laws are there for a good reason, one of which is to stop the likes of people who lack proper etiquette and manors in addressing others on this site.
Robert Armstrong March 24, 2011 at 08:17 PM
...and your pompous Buzz. You just make stuff up and think people are going to hang over every one of your words like it is the Gospel or something. "Some within the Intelligence Community......."??? Why don't you back that up with a link or 2?? Or was that a fabrication?
Buzz Beeler March 25, 2011 at 07:27 PM
I hope that this link meets your criteria of creditability, but then, had you taken the time to do the research, you would have known that what I said was based on facts. In the context of robust political discourse, rather than engage me on a personal level, you should be researching my statement based on its validity. http://homelandsecuritynewswire.com/us-mexicos-drug-war-posing-growing-threat-us-national-security Besides this link, I have viewed numerous documentaries such as "Border Wars," and the History Channels ongoing look at gang activity in the U.S. Based on the proximity of Mexico to the U.S. border, the number of drug cartel related deaths which have surpassed 30,000 and the number of cartel and gang activity in this country, the threat is real. http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2011-02-02/news/bs-md-drug-cartel-20110202_1_mexican-cartel-gulf-cartel-informant That is, I believe two links, as per your request. Oh by the way, this "stuff," is not made up, or "fabrication," as per your claim! Do your homework before you comment.
Robert Armstrong March 26, 2011 at 03:53 PM
Thats just "Chicken Little crap to scare the Sheeple. Here, this is from your much vaunted Fox News: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/08/07/threat-border-violence-arizona-appears-overstated-analysts-say/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+foxnews%2Fpolitics+%28Internal+-+Politics+-+Text%29
Buzz Beeler March 26, 2011 at 04:41 PM
Who are the sheep you are referring to? Are they U.S. citizens and taxpayers. You refer to us as sheep? Your attitude is reflected in this link. http://www.abc15.com/dpp/news/region_phoenix_metro/central_phoenix/letter-written-by-a-valley-teacher-is-stirring-a-heated-debate-about-racism-and-immigration You seem to want all of the entitlements and yet when I asked you what have you done for your country, you remain silent. You have never responded to any question. Are you not willing to educate the readers with your contribution because of your agenda. "We have had a significant reduction over 100,000 illegal aliens that have left this state," said Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce. "We've had a corresponding relationship with the reduction in violent crimes." One of the quotes from your link. http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB10001424052748703395204576023811983098994-lMyQjAxMTAwMDEwNjExNDYyWj.html Mexico is one of the richest nations in the world in natural resources and yet one of the most corrupt. How does Castro stay in power for so long? Why is California in such dire straights now? LA County is the gang capital of the U.S. Why is Hugo Chavez allowed to rule as a dictator? Do you remember Pablo Escobar? Are you suggesting open borders to anyone? Are you suggesting that U.S. law has no baring? Tell us just how much is this issues costing us?

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