The seven officers named in Wednesday's indictment have been with the Baltimore police for over a decade; prior to their arrest, all of them had been working as part of a specialized unit devoted to getting illegal guns off the street.
The seven officers are accused of falsely detaining people, stealing their money and property, and faking reports to cover up their crimes.
One officer also is charged with dealing drugs and tipping off drug suspects.
Baltimore City Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said the indictments were "a punch in the gut" for the Baltimore Police Department.
The U.S. attorney, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Agency and Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis plan to discuss the charges at a late-morning news conference.
The officers involved have been identified as Momodu Gondo, Evodio Hendrix, Daniel Hersl, Sgt. Wayne Jenkins, Jemell Rayam, Marcus Taylor and Maurice Ward.
"These are really robberies by people who are wearing police uniforms", said Maryland US Attorney Rod Rosenstein. The police department meanwhile reformed its policies and made changes such as requiring body cameras.
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Davis said other officers weren't surprised when they learned who was indicted, because several of them have been the subject of numerous misconduct complaints and civil lawsuits alleging abuse.
Each of the officers was indicted on federal racketeering charges.
They face a maximum of 20 years in prison for each count. The action may have been in response to a complaint [text, PDF] filed in January against the police department of Baltimore.
"We wouldn't be under a consent decree if we didn't have issues", he said. Later FBI got involved installing electronic surveillance, including one in an officer's patrol auto.
In one instance, one of the officers was paid overtime when he was actually on vacation with his family in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, according to the indictment.
U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein said the investigation began about a year ago, and that as a result, his office "quietly dropped" five federal cases brought by one or more of the officers. After his arrest, the indictment says, the officers entered the victim's house and stole money from the victim's safe.
Among the crimes they were arrested for were large-scale overtime and attendance fraud, and the robberies of citizens that ranged from the seizure of possessions and money valued between $200 and $200,000. These officers are entitled to due process and a fair trial in accordance with the Constitution and the laws of our state.
According to BCP Spokesman T.J. Smith, all officers have been suspended without pay. He declined to make other comments.
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