Baltimore Cops Convicted; 16 Face Sentencing

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The conviction of two Baltimore police detectives on racketeering charges — six others pleaded guilty without a trial — opens a new phase in the federal prosecution of the city’s formerly elite Gun Trace Task Force, the Baltimore Sun reports. U.S. District Judge Catherine Blake will hand down prison sentences for eight officers, a five-man drug crew, one bail bondsman and two other civilians. All were linked in a web of crime that stretched from peddlers of deadly heroin to a celebrated unit of plainclothes police. A Philadelphia officer still awaits trial in Baltimore. Prosecutors said Eric Troy Snell, a former Baltimore cop, partnered with the rogue cops to sell cocaine and heroin they seized from Baltimore’s streets. Snell remains jailed.

The six officers who pleaded guilty admitted to stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in drugs, cash and jewelry from people they encountered on the streets. Some officers nearly doubled their salaries by billing the city for overtime hours they didn’t work. They admitted to lying to cover up the schemes. The six men who pleaded guilty face maximum prison sentences ranging from 20 to 40 years. Detectives Daniel Hersl and Marcus Taylor were convicted on Monday by a jury of racketeering conspiracy and robbery. They each face as much as 60 years in prison. Five men have been found guilty of operating the heroin ring that led federal investigators to the corrupt police. One detective has admitted to running interference for the drug dealers. A new police department corruption unit is investigating at least 10 more city officers accused in testimony of participating in or facilitating the gun unit’s corruption. Acting Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa says other anti-corruption initiatives are being put in place to enhance supervision of specialty units and overtime spending.

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