Prosecutor: 'Buy-a-badge' pipeline security plan was illegal; 5 charged

A county prosecutor is accusing the owner of multibillion-dollar pipelines carrying natural gas liquids across Pennsylvania of illegally using uniformed state constables as a private security force.

Charged on Tuesday by Chester County District Attorney Thomas Hogan's office was an Energy Transfer LP security manager, as well as four men associated with security subcontractors.

Credit: Chester County District Attorney

The charges include dealing in the proceeds of unlawful activities and bribery.

The four men have been identified as Frank Recknagel, James Murphy, Michael Boffo, Nikolas McKinnon, and Richard Lester. 

Hogan's office initially charged two constables in August with official oppression and other offenses. Hogan now says 19 constables received $235,000 in a "buy-a-badge" security scheme for the Mariner East pipelines.

Texas-based Energy Transfer says the charges are meritless. It says it supports its employee, that local law enforcement knew of the plan and that the community benefited from the security.