Two Chicago police officers, allegedly thinking they were stealing more than $5,000 in cash from a drug courier, were arrested after it turned out they were being tracked in an undercover sting.
Sgt. Ronald Watts, 48, and Officer Kallat Mohammed, 47, were arrested Sunday night on federal charges alleging they stole $5,200 in government undercover funds on Nov. 21 from a homeless man who claimed to be a drug courier but was working as an FBI informant, reported NBCChicago.com.
The informant had a criminal record, and had been arrested by the officers before, according to a federal criminal complaint unsealed Monday. He wore a wire when he met up with the officers in November.
According to the complaint, Watts and Mohammed, who have worked for the Chicago Police Department for 18 and 14 years, respectively, had told the informant to alert them whenever a drug money transport was in progress. Three days before the Nov. 21 incident, in a conversation that was wiretapped, the informant told Watts where he could come pick it up, CBS2 in Chicago reported. Watts allegedly then arranged for Mohammed to intercept the money, reported CBS2.
When Mohammed came to pick up the bag from the informant, it contained the cash and a court-authorized tracking device, according to the criminal complaint. Video surveillance then purportedly showed the informant asking Watts for a cut, and Watt allegedly handing over $400 for tipping them off.
"Who always takes care of you?" Watts allegedly asked as he handed the homeless man the money.
"You do, Watts," the informant responded, according to the complaint.
If convicted, Watts and Mohammed could face up to 10 years of prison and a fine of $250,000, said the Chicago division of the FBI.
They were released on $10,000 bond each after appearing in federal court Monday, and are scheduled for a status hearing on Feb. 21, NBCChicago.com reported.
Calls from msnbc.com to the Chicago division of the FBI were not immediately returned.
More content from msnbc.com and NBC News