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Trial to move forward after certain federal charges dropped

Pennsylvania readers may be aware of a large-scale federal case against six former narcotics officers who were working out of Philadelphia. The case centers on a 25-count indictment against the men, who are accused of running what is referred to as a "gangland enterprise," in which they allegedly robbed and beat drug suspects, among other charges. Attorneys for the men recently went before the court to ask that the trial be stopped after it appeared that one of the witnesses for the prosecution had lied before the grand jury.

The men are accused of a range of crimes, including robbery at gunpoint. It is also alleged that several of the men took a suspect and held him over the edge of a high-rise balcony in an attempt to extract information. One of the men is being held in custody, while the rest are free and awaiting the upcoming trial.

The recent court appearance was due to problems with one of the witnesses for the prosecution. That individual received immunity in a burglary case at the state level in exchange for his testimony about multiple drug squad officers. He told prosecutors that the men robbed him of $3,200 during an arrest in 2010. However, attorneys for the men argued that he made no mention of such an event during a related criminal trial or within a lawsuit he filed against the officers.

Prosecutors withdrew charges related to two of the more than 20 witnesses, although it is not clear if the witness mentioned above was associated with the dropped charges. The federal judge for the drug squad trial considered the argument that the trial should be halted. However, he ruled that sufficient evidence remained to allow the trial to move forward against all six former Pennsylvania officers.

Source: lancasteronline.com, "Ex-drug officers lose bid to toss racketeering charges", March 17, 2015

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