MOUNT OLIVE, N.C. — Three Mt. Olive police officers are off the job after an investigation conducted by the State Bureau of Investigation.
Sgt. Josh Ehnert, Patrolman David Johnson and Senior Patrolman Freddie Southerland are charged with conspiracy to commit larceny.
Investigators say the three men would pull Latino men over, demand their wallets and then take their money. Juvenico Peralta, president of the state's Mexican-American Association, said many Latinos were victims of a shakedown, but they were afraid to report it.
"They've been intimidated by the policeman No. 1, and it seems like that was what stopped them coming forward and speaking up," Peralta said. "I think this is going to bring some closure to this situation to this case."
The arrests stem from an undercover bust in which investigators say they took a wallet from an SBI agent. The three officers were suspended without pay shortly after the undercover bust. The Mount Olive police chief said all three men have officially resigned within the last week.
The three men are out on bond.