Charges against 46 accused drug dealers tossed
PHILADELPHIA - January 14, 2013 (WPVI) -- Criminal charges against 46 accused drug dealers were thrown out of court on Monday amid corruption allegations against members of the Philadelphia Police Department's narcotics squad.
The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office confirmed they will no longer prosecute cases involving several members of the narcotics team.
Six members of the squad have been transferred out of the unit and Action News has confirmed they are the subject of an internal investigation.
District Attorney Seth Williams refused to speak on camera about why he won't prosecute the cases. However, in a written statement, Williams confirmed he has "withdrawn prosecutions in pending cases."
Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said the department has launched an internal investigation, but also did not speak about the accusations his officers are facing.
Attorney Robert Mozenter represents six of the accused drug dealers. He said "If I were police commissioner, there would not be a narcotics squad."
The cases against Mozenter's clients are among the hundreds that have been dismissed without explanation.
"A lot of drug dealers are being freed who shouldn't be because of bad police work, or because of corrupt police work," Mozenter said.
Mozenter, a former prosecutor in charge of the narcotics unit, said there is no mystery as to what's happening.
"To make arrests, sometimes they feel they have to stretch the truth. And they get on the witness stand and testify in half truths. And it is obvious to everyone that they are," Mozenter said.
Mozenter said that his clients have, for years, accused the officers of pocketing drug money and making bogus arrests.
"The temptations are too great," Mozenter said. "The longer they stay on the narcotics squad, the more jaded they get. They see this money, they are working hard, they feel entitled to it."
Mozenter added, "I am happy and surprised the D.A.'s office is moving in this direction. It should have been done a long time ago."
The officers at the center of the investigation are still on full duty and, in some cases, are still on the streets. However, they have been moved out of the narcotics unit while the investigation continues.
philadelphia, police, drugs, Action News Investigation, local/state, wendy saltzman
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