- Associated Press - Thursday, April 28, 2016

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A longtime Ohio policeman accused of conspiring with another officer to falsely obtain search warrants and keep up to $250,000 in cash and property seized in drug investigations will plead guilty to federal charges under an agreement with prosecutors.

Investigators allege the Reynoldsburg officers conspired to violate people’s rights against unreasonable searches and stole between $150,000 and $250,000 in seized money and property since 2006.

Shane Mauger, of Columbus, will plead guilty to conspiracy to deprive people of civil rights and federal program theft under an agreement filed Wednesday. Each charge could bring up to 10 years in prison.

Mauger is expected to receive a lesser sentence because he cooperated and gave investigators information to fill in gaps about what happened, defense attorney Mark Collins said.

“He is embarrassed and disgraced for tarnishing the badge,” Collins said. “He has done everything possible … to try and take the first steps in admitting his wrongdoing.”

Reynoldsburg Police Chief James O’Neill said Mauger, who had been put on leave in February, resigned last week after 20 years with the department, The Columbus Dispatch reported.

O’Neill also indicated his department will review how the officers exploited the secrecy required for covert drug investigations for so long, and whether warning signs were missed, the newspaper said.

Mauger’s alleged co-conspirator, Tye Downard, was accused of delivering narcotics for sale and was arrested in February. His attorney said then that Downard was a good officer and a good person and would vigorously defend against the allegations. Downard hanged himself in jail days after his arrest, authorities said.

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