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Ex-police chief, 6 others face corruption charges

A former Michigan police chief, his wife and five officers have been charged over alleged corruption as part of a three-year investigation, local media outlets reported.
/ Source: news services

A former Michigan police chief, his wife and five officers have been charged as part of a three-year investigation that state prosecutors say unveiled corruption, including the misuse of drug forfeiture funds to pay for marijuana, prostitutes and a tanning salon, local media outlets reported.

Michael St. Andre, a 50-year-old former head of police in Romulus, Mich., has been charged with 10 felony counts ranging from conducting a criminal enterprise to intimidating a witness, local Fox affiliate WJBK-TV reported.

He allegedly used drug forfeiture funds to pay for a friend and her daughter to travel to California and Las Vegas, and paid for an informant's wedding rehearsal reception, WJBK said.

St. Andre also used $75,000 of drug forfeiture funds to buy a tanning salon in Westland for his wife, prosecutors said, according to the Detroit Free Press. Sandra St. Andre allegedly knowingly received and concealed stolen property.

St. Andre officially retired from the police force on Sept. 14, WJBK said.

In addition to the St. Andres, Detective Sgt. Richard Balzer, Detective Richard Landry and Detective Donald Hopkins all face felony racketeering charges that carry a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison, the Free Press reported.

Detective Jeremy Channells and Detective Larry Droege face felony charges and could face a maximum sentence of five years in prison if convicted, the newspaper said.

The officers are accused of spending $40,000 in forfeiture funds in one year on marijuana, prostitutes and alcohol, the Free Press quoted Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy as saying.

St. Andre supervised Balzer, Landry, Hopkins, Channells and Droege and had knowledge of their alleged criminal activities, Worthy said.

"Public corruption will not be tolerated, and I don't understand how people can still think they can get away with it," WJBK quoted Worthy as saying.