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Ex-Meridian Police officer faces federal extortion charges

(AP) — A former Meridian Police officer is facing charges of extortion, federal prosecutors said Thursday.
Royric “Roy” Benamon, 27, was indicted on two counts of extortion under color of official right, U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst said in a news release.
According to the indictment unsealed Thursday, Benamon allegedly pulled over two drivers in Lauderdale County on two separate occasions in April and accepted cash from them in lieu of issuing them a ticket. The amount of money he allegedly received was not disclosed.
Benamon resigned immediately after the allegations became public.
Benamon was arrested Wednesday without incident and appeared for arraignment Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Linda Anderson in Jackson. Benamon was released on bond. His trial is set for Oct. 5 before U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III in Jackson. If convicted, he faces up to a $250,000 fine per count and 20 years in prison.
“Fighting public corruption is a top priority of this office, as our society is undermined when those in positions of power become corrupted and abuse the public trust for personal gain,” Hurst said. “We will continue to root out corrupt officials who endanger our communities and tarnish the reputation of our law enforcement who serve and protect us so honorably.”