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Did quotas push Baltimore cop into drug dealing scheme?

A member of Baltimore's violent crime task force recently pled guilty to charges for drug possession with the intent to distribute. The officer's defense team states that the man did what he felt was necessary to meet the arrest quotas set by the local police department.

According to court documents, the Maryland police officer provided protection to an informant in order to arrest more people on drug charges. Prosecutors also claim that the officer became involved in drug distribution in order to get leads from the informant. Eventually, federal law enforcement officials caught the officer with the help of a wiretap.

As a result of the drug charge, officer has been removed from the force and could spend up to 10 years behind bars. Although reports do not specify whether a plea deal was at work in this case, the officer may be given a more lenient sentence because he pled guilty.

During the trial, it was made clear that the officer became involved in the drug trade in order to conduct more arrests. The immense amount of pressure placed on officers in the violent crime unit to make drug arrests is an aspect of this case that can't be overlooked.

In a number of criminal cases, otherwise law-abiding citizens are driven to commit illicit acts due to unforeseen circumstances. The officer obviously felt the weight of his job on his shoulders, enough to risk his freedom and future as a public servant. The hope is that the officer is treated fairly and all the relevant facts of the case are considered when the judge hands down the sentence.

Source: WBAL-TV News, "Baltimore police officer pleads guilty in conspiracy to sell drugs," March 12, 2013

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