Two south suburban police officers are facing federal charges for allegedly robbing drivers of cash, drugs and guns during traffic stops, and demanding bribes in exchange for not filing criminal charges or impounding their vehicles.
Phoenix Police Sgt. Jarrett Snowden, 34, and Officer Antoine “Bell” Larry, 46, who was under Snowden’s command, are charged with bribery conspiracy, extortion and attempted extortion in a newly unsealed federal indictment.
Larry and Snowden “agreed to abuse their official positions and powers as police officers” and, beginning in 2020, began to rob and extort drivers they pulled over in Phoenix as well as Harvey and other neighboring suburbs, the indictment alleges.
The indictment lists seven acts of robbery or bribery between October 2020 and December 2021, though federal officials say both officers may have conspired to shake down drivers as early as April 2020.
The two would take illegal guns, drugs or other contraband and then demand cash bribes in exchange for “reducing, dropping or declining to press charges” and allowing the drivers to keep their cars instead of having them impounded, the indictment states.
Larry and Snowden sometimes arranged for victims to meet them at a nearby gas station to pay a cash bribe, according to the indictment. In some cases, the officers enlisted a “bagman” to collect payments.
In one instance, the officers extorted $8,000 from a victim, the indictment alleges. Other victims said they were forced to pay about $1,000.
When Larry and Snowden found illegal drugs, they would sell them to a drug dealer and split the proceeds, the indictment charges.
The officers would conceal the thefts by falsifying police reports, the indictment states.
Both officers have been placed on unpaid administrative leave pending the outcome of the federal case, Phoenix Chief of Police Roy Wells said in a statement Tuesday.
“To avoid compromising the integrity of the federal government’s investigation, we will offer no further comment,” the chief said.
The two officers are awaiting court dates.