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DA: Criminal Charges Filed Against Mariner Pipeline Owners For Hiring Constables To Act As Private Security Force

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Officials in Chester County have filed criminal charges against the owners of the Mariner Pipeline. The charges allege employees of Energy Transfer engaged in bribery and conspiracy to conceal activities and intimidate residents.

District Attorney Tom Hogan says the company hired Pennsylvania constables, who are elected officials, to act as a private security force for the pipeline.

But constables are not permitted to use their official positions for private security jobs.

Energy Transfer says the charges are "troubling" and not credible.

"We have learned that an employee was arraigned this morning and charged with alleged wrongdoing related to the hiring of Pennsylvania constables—sworn law enforcement officials—at Energy Transfer's expense," Energy Transfer said in a statement. "We believe that these charges do not have any merit and find it troubling that District Attorney Tom Hogan would proceed with charges that we are confident will not stand, creating far-reaching impacts for this employee and his family."

The company says the constables were hired by an independent security firm to support the West Whiteland Police Department.

In a statement, the West Whiteland Police Department says "at not time" did the department request Energy Transfer "to provide security for any of its work sites in West Whiteland Township."

The department says in December 2018, Energy Transfer contacted them about hiring off-duty officers to provide security at work sites but the department declined the request.

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