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Memphis police officers are paid to keep residents of our city safe. But two officers are now charged by their peers with violating not only the city’s trust, but also violating its laws.

Two Memphis cops have been arrested on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance with intent to manufacture, distribute or sell heroin, among other accusations. The pair are accused of robbing drug dealers of drugs and money during traffic stops, according to a recent news report.

The officers – ages 25 and 40 – were also charged with possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony and a felony charge of criminal attempt to manufacture, distribute or sell heroin.

The Commercial Appeal reports that the Memphis police department’s Organized Crime unit and the FBI’s Tarnished Blue investigators were informed in February of two local cops stealing from drug dealers during traffic stops.

The two investigative teams reportedly set up a sting for the pair. The two allegedly stole money from an undercover officer posing as a drug dealer during two traffic stops. The pair of officers later reportedly contacted the undercover officer, offering to protect an upcoming heroin shipment of 2.5 kilos of heroin “from being seized by legitimate law enforcement activities,” according to an arrest affidavit.

The two officers allegedly asked for $9,000 for their protection. One of the officers is accused of threatening the undercover cop’s “family if the arrangement was a setup,” the affidavit states.

According to the arresting officers, the pair later admitted to conspiring to take protection money.

Punishment for drug-trafficking violations can be harsh. Careers, family relationships and freedom are all on the line. Before speaking with a prosecutor, talk to a criminal defense attorney about your legal options.