updated 7/11/2006 12:28:45 PM ET 2006-07-11T16:28:45

Six police officers from northern New Jersey were indicted Tuesday on charges alleging they protected targets of a drug ring investigation by tipping them off about raids in exchange for drugs.

What began as a “social relationship” between the officers and their young contemporaries, who would use small amount of drugs together, soon spiraled out of control, authorities said.

“The targets lived a high-profile lifestyle: They drove luxury vehicles and they had boats, and they partied with the officers,” said Passaic County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Jay McCann. “Then it cascaded from there.”

The primary drugs involved were the powerful painkiller OxyContin and the sleeping pill Ambien.

The officers were arrested within the past 18 months, but the case was made public on Tuesday with the indictments.

Each officer has been suspended and faces arraignment in four to six weeks on charges including conspiracy to commit official misconduct; conspiracy to possess narcotics; official misconduct; witness tampering and hindering apprehension.

The indictment also names seven others who were targeted in the drug probe, which included dealing in cocaine, OxyContin and anabolic steroids.

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