Romulus Officers Accused Of Spending Drug Money
Officers Face Criminal Enterprise, Corruption Charges
The Wayne County Prosecutor said Tuesday drug money seized by Romulus police was used to pay for prostitutes, marijuana and alcohol, and to buy a tanning salon later operated by the chief's wife.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said the former Romulus police chief, his wife and five officer were charged after a three-year long investigation into allegations of misconduct, corruption and embezzlement of drug forfeiture funds by the department's Special Investigation Unit.
Former chief Michael St. Andre and detectives Richard Balzer, Richard Landry and Donald Hopkins face numerous charges, including conducting a criminal enterprise and embezzlement.
Detectives Jeremy Channells and Larry Droege are charged with misconduct in office and neglect of duty.
Sandra St. Andre, the ex-chief's wife, faces acquiring/maintaining a criminal enterprise, conspiracy and tax charges.
"When it comes to public corruption, it never ceases to amaze me how many people think they can continuously get away with it," Worthy.
St. Andre and the others were either arrested or turned themselves in Monday.
St. Andrew was chief during what the city calls "a long investigation into the Police Department by the Michigan State Police." He resigned Sept. 13.
State police investigators raided St. Andre's Garden City home in March. The investigators also raided the former chief's wife's tanning salon and the Romulus Police Department.
New Romulus Police Chief Robert Dickerson said MSP and the FBI came to him early Monday as a courtesy to advise him it was "D-Day five former police officers and one former chief."
Dickerson said the allegations against the officers are shocking and disappointing.
"It looks like an enterprise. It looks like there was some type of organized cooperation among this small group of people," he said. "Again, it's not the Romulus Police Department."
Romulus Mayor Alan Lambert has been supporting St. Andre for the past few months.
"It's a tough day but I think it's a new day for Romulus,? Lambert said. "Obviously it's disappointing. But, like I said, just because a few individuals are bad, it doesn't make the whole Police Department that way."
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