updated 10/3/2007 7:57:13 PM ET 2007-10-03T23:57:13

A U.S. immigration official took money and gifts in exchange for freeing numerous illegal immigrants, one of whom went on to kill a college student from Jordan, federal officials said Wednesday.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement official also is accused of conspiring with the fugitive owner of a chain of Middle Eastern restaurants to help immigrants gain U.S. residency through fraudulent marriages to U.S. women.

Roy M. Bailey, 54, who was acting director for detention and removal operations in Detroit, has been on leave since 2004 because of the investigation.

A federal grand jury indictment against Bailey and four others charges him with taking bribes, concealing a felony and conspiring to commit bribery, extortion and fraud.

The most serious of the charges have a penalty of up to 15 years in prison.

"Acts of corruption in the department ... represent a threat to our nation and undermine the legitimacy of the immigration process," Thomas M. Frost, head of Homeland Security's inspector general office, said in a statement released Wednesday.

Bailey's lawyer said his client "has dedicated his life to public service and upholding the law. He is completely innocent of these charges and will fight to restore his stellar reputation."

Bailey remained free Wednesday and was expected to be arraigned next week.

According to the indictment, Bailey took $2,000 from a private immigration lawyer in 2001 and 2003 and authorized the release of one of the lawyer's clients who was awaiting deportation.

Freed man serving sentence for murder
Last year, the freed man, Bashar J. Faraj, was convicted of murder in the death of Faed Al-Farah, 27, a graduate student from Jordan. Faraj, 31, is serving a 25-year prison sentence.

The indictment also accuses Bailey of allowing another federal agent to steal $300,000 from detained aliens.

The federal grand jury also charged restaurant chain owner Talal Chahine, 52, who is believed to have fled to Lebanon in 2005 to avoid federal tax charges.

Two other defendants also are believed to have fled — Mohamad Arzouni, 59, and Mohammad Bazzi, 61.

Only one defendant was in custody Wednesday — building contractor Antonio Ivezaj, 39 of Oakland County's White Lake Township.

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