Jovan Johnson, Gleaner Writer
Seven policemen, who allegedly corruptly accepted money to not prosecute a man found with ganja, were today charged for extortion by the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB).
The police constables attached to the St James Division were charged following a ruling by the Director of Public Prosecutions.
They are Devon Bernard, Marven Campbell, Denford Brown, Tajay Allen, Alman Fletcher, Dwayne Lynch, and Paul Williams.
The seven police constables were brought before the Montego Bay Resident Magistrate's Court today in relation to extortion.
They also face charges under the Corruption Prevention Act, for corruptly soliciting a sum of money, corruptly accepting money and aiding and abetting.
They were each granted $500,000 bail when they appeared in court today and are to reappear in on February 6.
It is alleged that in late November, the policemen carried out an operation in Montego Bay, during which a quantity of ganja was found at a premises owned by a businessman.
The seven were later accused of soliciting and accepting a sum of money from the businessman with the promise not to prosecute him under the Dangerous Drugs Act.
The policemen reportedly accompanied the businessman to several automated teller machines across Montego Bay, from which he withdrew $300,000 and paid them.
He was then released without charge.
The matter was subsequently reported to the ACB, and a probe was launched resulting in the arrest of the men.
Head of the ACB, Assistant Commissioner of Police Selvin Hay had high praises for the investigators under his command.
And he reiterated the commitment of the ACB Area One office to deal effectively and decisively with corruption in that section of the island.
He also stated that the outcome of this investigation is a positive indication of the benefits that decentralisation can bring.
The reputation of the St James Police Division was earlier this year badly tarnished when three members of the police force were arrested and charged for assisting a dangerous prisoner to escape custody at a lock-up.
The prisoner was subsequently caught at the home of a policewoman.
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