Ex-Philadelphia Cop Facing Federal Extortion Charges
A former Philadelphia police officer is accused of robbing drug dealers of money and drugs, then splitting the proceeds with his co-conspirators.
Federal prosecutors say former Philadelphia Police officer Christopher Saravello, 37, took more than $9,800 in cash, Oxycontin and other drugs from dealers and buyers while working as a Philadelphia police officer between November 2011 and June 2012. The indictment was unsealed today, and Saravello was arrested.
Saravello is charged with five counts of violating the Hobbs Act, the federal law against extortion related to robbery, and one count of conspiring to violate the Hobbs Act. He could face up to 120 years in prison.
Prosecutors allege Saravello’s co-conspirators would notify him when and where a drug deal would take place. According to the indictment (below), Saravello would break up the deal and identify himself as a police officer — either by riding in his marked police car, wearing his uniform, displaying his badge, or identifying himself verbally as a Philadelphia cop — and would then steal the drugs and money.
Saravello is accused of sharing the drugs and money with his co-conspirators. One of those men, Robert Nagy, was sentenced to 10 months earlier this year for conspiring with Saravello. He’s been cooperating with prosecutors.
Saravello was a police officer from 2007 to 2012, when he left the force. He was assigned to the 6th district during the time described by the indictment. The 6th covers most of Center City east of Broad, as well as parts of Northern Liberties and the Eraserhood. Per Classmates.com, he’s a 1995 graduate of St. John Neumann.
The FBI investigated the case. In addition to the 120 years in prison, Saravello also faces a $1.25 million fine, three years of supervised release and a dreaded $600 special assessment if convicted of all charges.