UPDATE: Phoenix Cop Accused of Shaking Down Drug Dealers Indicted on Eight Charges Including Kidnapping
James Wren, a Phoenix police officer accused of shaking down drug dealers for thousands of dollars, has been formally indicted on eight charges.
Maricopa County prosecutors announced Friday that Wren now faces charges including theft, money laundering, armed robbery, kidnapping, and use of a wire or electronic communication in drug-related transactions.
Wren got busted when the Avondale Police Department contacted the Phoenix PD about two weeks ago to say one of its officers, 23-year-old James Wren, of the Maryvale Precinct, was using traffic stops to steal money from drug dealers.
Avondale police got a tip from an informant who claimed he had conducted two "operations" with Wren where the informant led the officer to the cars of drug dealers after a deal had been made.
Wren, according to the informant, would then pull over the car and steal money.
In one instance, according to court documents acquired by New Times, Wren pulled over a drug dealer, stole his money, and then threw his car keys into the desert before releasing him.
On June 10, about 10 p.m., Wren stopped somebody he thought was a drug dealer who had $40,000 in the car in the 6300 block of West McDowell Road.
The alleged drug dealer was actually an undercover Phoenix police officer.
According to police, over the course of the traffic stop, Wren became suspicious and let the driver go.
Wren then drove to the Estrella Mountain Precinct Station where he was arrested by Phoenix police.
The arrest came after Phoenix cops made video and audio recordings of Wren and the Avondale informant discussing the previous thefts and arranging the one that ultimately led to his arrest.
Wren is on tape asking the informant details about the target of the heist, including whether the subject driving the car would be armed.
Wren has since resigned from the department.
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