U.S. Attorney’s Office
December 18, 2015
Middle District of Pennsylvania
Veteran York County Police Officer Arrested on Federal Corruption Charges
HARRISBURG—The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that a 17 year veteran police officer with the Fairview Township Police Department was arrested today by federal authorities on corruption charges.
According to United States Attorney Peter Smith, Officer Tyson Baker, age 41, Etters, was charged in a criminal complaint with violations of federal law relating to his conduct as a police officer.
In the complaint, the Federal Bureau of Investigation charged Baker with stealing money from drug traffickers who had been arrested, the subject of police traffic stops, or both. The specific federal statute is the Hobbs Act, which prohibits interfering with interstate commerce by force, violence or intimidation. Baker was also charged with removing evidence that was subject to seizure and providing false information to federal authorities.
The complaint also charges that, in November, Baker orchestrated the theft of $2,000 in drug proceeds seized by the Fairview Township Police Department during a search of a residence that had resulted in the seizure of several pounds of marijuana and approximately $14,000. The FBI recorded conversations with Baker allegedly regarding the theft. The criminal complaint also alleges that Baker discussed robbing drug traffickers of drug proceeds during traffic stops.
According to the complaint, on December 16, 2015 the FBI, with the full cooperation of the Fairview Township Police Department, arranged for a vehicle operated by an undercover FBI agent to be stopped. It is alleged that Baker had the vehicle towed from the scene and, without a warrant and in spite of directions not to search the vehicle, allegedly searched the vehicle and stole $3,000 concealed in the vehicle.
The case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Harrisburg Resident Office, the Pennsylvania State Police, the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, and the Fairview Township Police Department.
Prosecution of the case is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney William A. Behe.
Baker’s initial appearance is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. before Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Martin C. Carlson in Harrisburg Criminal complaints, like indictments, are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.
A sentence following a finding of guilt is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
The maximum penalty under federal law is 20 years on the Hobbs Act charge, and five years on each of the two other counts of the complaint. There is also a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant’s educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.