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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Extortion Charges Filed Against Two Cops

Extortion charges filed against two P.G. cops
The Washington Examiner by Andrew Harnik - March 14, 2011

Two Prince George's County police officers were charged with extortion as part of a wide-reaching public corruption scheme that netted an eight-count indictment against former County Executive Jack Johnson. Officers Sinisa Simic and Mirza Kujundzic were already among several officers charged with drug trafficking and gun violations. The new charge of extortion was filed against the two Woodbridge residents on Monday. The extortion ties the two officers to an untaxed cigarette trafficking scheme that also allegedly included other Prince George's County police officers and the owner of Tick Tock Liquors in Langley Park. "Corrupt cops tarnish the badge we all wear," interim Prince George's County police Chief Mark Magaw said. "I appreciate the work of the FBI, IRS and the U.S. Attorney's office in helping us root out corruption and maintain public confidence in our police force." Authorities have not said whether there's a direct link between the corruption charges filed against the police officers and Johnson and his wife, county Councilwoman Leslie Johnson. Both Johnsons were taken into custody last year after federal agents heard Jack Johnson order his wife to flush a $100,000 check from a developer and to hide nearly $80,000 in cash in her underwear. The new indictment filed against Simic, 25, and Kujundzic, 30, alleges the two conspired at least seven times from Sept. 9, 2009, to Dec. 3, 2009, to pay police officers "in exchange for them using their official authority to ensure safe transport and distribution of untaxed cigarettes in Maryland and Virginia." It also charges them with using firearms while transporting cocaine during the same time period. Both officers have been held without bond, and no court date has been scheduled. They face more than 150 years in prison. Accusations of widespread corruption in the Prince George's County government were the basis of Rushern Baker's successful campaign to be the county's next executive. On the day the police officers were first arrested, FBI agents and other law enforcement officials fanned out across the region to execute more than a half-dozen warrants from the four-year probe, authorities said.

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