1||The scandal started with a check flushed down the toilet, a cash-stuffed bra and the arrest of Prince George’s County Executive Jack B. Johnson and his wife Leslie for alleged corruption.
But the additional arrests that ensued exposed a wide-ranging tobacco and alcohol smuggling ring in the D.C. suburbs. Nine people — including three police officers — were arrested, accused of running drugs, guns, and black-market alcohol and cigarettes into the state.
This is Johnson, who is accused of taking bribes from developers and businessmen. He plead not guilty to eight charges on Monday. Johnson allegedly handed out grants and favors in exchange for airline tickets, rounds of golf and about $200,000 in cash, according to federal prosecutors.||U.S. Marshals Service&&
2||Prosecutors also say that Johnson solicited donations on behalf of his wife, Leslie Johnson, shown here, who was charged with tampering with evidence for allegedly stuffing cash down her bra and flushing a check down the toilet as FBI agents knocked on her door.
Despite the federal indictment against her, Leslie Johnson is currently serving on the County Council and has an arraignment set for April.||U.S. Marshals Service&&
3||This is Prince George’s County Police Sergeant Richard Delabrer, 45, who allegedly accepted bribes from store owners in exchange for his help ensuring the safe transport and distribution of untaxed cigarettes and alcohol in Maryland and Virginia.||U.S. Marshals Service&&
4||Prince George’s Police Corporal Chong Chin Kim, 42, of Beltsville, was also charged with taking bribes for store owners. “Police officers are given badges and guns to prevent crimes, but these police officers allegedly used them to commit crimes,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “The indictment charges that they crossed a bright line from catching criminals to conspiring with criminals.”||U.S. Marshals Service&&
5||Amrik S. Melhi, 51, the proprietor of several liquor stores — including Tick Tock Liquor and Restaurant in Langley Park, Md., one of the most popular liquor stores in the area, was arrested for offering bribes to the police.||U.S. Marshals Service&&
6||Melhi’s wife and business partner, Ravinder Kaur Melhi, 49, was also arrested.
The couple opened their first liquor store in Riverdale in 1985, according to a 2005 Washington Post profile of the couple. From that one store, they built a small liquor and real estate empire valued at over $26 million according to the Baltimore Sun.||U.S. Marshals Service&&
7||Like the police officers and store owners, Chun Chen, aka Eddy Chen, 34, is charged with “conspiring to commit extortion under color of official right in a scheme involving the transport and distribution of untaxed cigarettes and alcohol.” However, the indictment doesn’t provide any more details on his role in the smuggling ring.||U.S. Marshals Service&&
8||The role that Jose Moreno, 49, played in the operation is also unclear.
Check out all our previous coverage here.||U.S. Marshals Service&&