2 south suburban police officers indicted for extortion, theft during traffic stops

Michelle Gallardo Image
Wednesday, January 18, 2023
2 south suburban cops charged with extortion, theft, soliciting bribes
Two south suburban police officers are charged with extortion, solicing bribes and stealing guns, drugs and cash during traffic stops.

PHOENIX, Ill. (WLS) -- Two police officers in south suburban Phoenix are facing charges of extortion, theft and soliciting bribes, accused of shaking down motorists during the course of traffic stops there and in neighboring Harvey.

A federal grand jury returned a four count indictment against Phoenix Police Sergeant Jarret Snowden, 34, and patrol Officer Antoine Larry, 46, The 10 page indictment alleges the two engaged in criminal conspiracy between 2020 and 2022, agreeing, "to corruptly solicit and obtain cash payments and other things of value, including controlled substances, from occupants of vehicles that LARRY and SNOWDEN encountered during traffic stops, in exchange for reducing, dropping or declining to press charges against the occupants..."

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.

In one case, the pair are accused of selling illegally-obtained drugs to a dealer and agreeing to split the proceeds.

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.

The Phoenix chief of police released a statement Tuesday, reading in part, "We have placed both officers on unpaid administrative leave pending the outcome of the federal trial. To avoid compromising the integrity of the federal government's investigation, we will offer no further comment."

Neither Larry nor Snowden is in custody. An attorney for one of the officers said it may yet be a few weeks before either of them is arraigned in court.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.