WASHINGTON – A former member of the U.S. armed services pleaded guilty today
in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona in Tucson for his role in
a widespread bribery and extortion conspiracy, Acting Assistant Attorney General
Rita M. Glavin of the Criminal Division announced today.
The charges arise from Operation Lively Green, an undercover investigation
conducted by the FBI that began in December 2001. To date, 56 additional
defendants have been sentenced for their roles in the conspiracy.
Rommel I. Schroer, 33, a former sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, pleaded
guilty today to one count of conspiring to enrich himself by obtaining cash
bribes from people he believed to be narcotics traffickers in return for his
assistance, protection, and participation in the activities of what he believed
to be an illegal narcotics-trafficking organization that distributed cocaine
from Arizona to other locations in the southwestern United States. In reality,
the narcotics traffickers were undercover FBI agents. According to court
documents, in order to protect the shipments of cocaine, Mr. Schroer and his
co-conspirators wore official uniforms, carried official forms of
identification, and used official vehicles, when necessary, to prevent police
stops, searches and seizures of the narcotics as they drove the cocaine
shipments through checkpoints manned by the U.S. Border Patrol, the Arizona
Department of Public Safety and Nevada law enforcement officers.
The case is part of a joint investigation being conducted by the Southern
Arizona Corruption Task Force (SACTF), which is comprised of the FBI, the Drug
Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
at the Department of Homeland Security and the Tucson Police Department.
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