HOUSTON -- The two Houston police officers who were arrested Sunday afternoon on allegations they accepted money to help protect a cocaine distribution scheme have appeared before a judge in federal court.

A press release from United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson said Emerson Canizales, 26, of Kingwood, and Michael Miceli, 26, of Humble, were taken into custody at the start of their shifts at the Houston Police Department.

Both were named in an indictment charging conspiracy to violate the Hobbs Act and conspiracy to possess a controlled substance.

The Department of Justice said the officers received a payment of $1,000 for protection they provided to distribute drugs in Houston in late December 2012.

Canizales and Miceli appeared in federal court on Monday. They both posted a $50,000 bond.

If convicted, each faces no less than 10 years and up to life in prison as well as a possible $10 million fine. For extortion under color of law, they could also receive up to 20 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.

HPD Chief Charles A. McClelland, Jr. released the following statement:

We have been working cooperatively with federal authorities on this investigation and are proud that our internal proactive measures have proven effective in addressing these types of allegations. We will never tolerate criminal misconduct from any of our employees. Both officers have been relieved of duty pending the outcome of the Internal Affairs investigation. The allegations against these officers are not reflective of the hard working men and women at HPD. Since this is still very much an ongoing investigation, there will be no further statements until its conclusion. Canizales and Miceli graduated out of the same police academy class and had been on the force for just a few years.

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