BAGHDAD, Iraq – U.S. military forces arrested the police chief of the troubled western Iraqi province of Al Anbar (search) on corruption charges, military officials told FOX News.
Al Anbar Police Chief Ja'adan Mohammed Alwan (search) in Ramadi had long been suspected of corruption and involvement in criminal activities.
He is suspected of accepting bribes to overlook crimes, extorting money from police officers, and embezzling funds meant for the police service of Al Anbar — a province with 1.7 million people and a police force of 11,000.
Alwan was also wanted for questioning in connection with kidnappings and murders.
Marine Col. Geoffrey Cooper, who carried out the arrest Saturday, tells FOX News Alwan's detention followed a three-to-five month investigation.
Cooper said countless government officials were afraid of Alwan, and his actions undermined the authority of the Iraqi police service and contributed to crime and instability in the Ramadi (search) area. Cooper hopes Alwan's removal will allow the police in Al Anbar province to become a more capable force.
In order to avoid bloodshed and to make the arrest as clean as possible, Cooper — a Marine on his second tour of duty in Iraq who is now working to train Iraqi police forces — arranged to "bring the target to us."
Cooper invited Alwan to a meeting at the Ar Ramadi Police Academy to "discuss training and operations of the Iraqi Police in the Al Anbar Province".
Alwan arrived at the camp gate at 12:25 p.m. local time and got in a vehicle with Cooper and an International Police liaison officer, and they advised Alwan he was being taken into custody. He was then removed from the vehicle, handcuffed, and blackout goggles were put on him "for security reasons." He was then transported to the U.S. Marine Corps Detention Facility for processing.
Since his arrest, Cooper said the province capital of Ramadi has been "relatively quiet and in a state of shock." The Ministry of Interior, which directed the arrest, will be installing a new province police chief and staff in the days to come.