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Baltimore police face major scandal involving 7 officers

It’s a shocking case that broke into the news on the first day of March, 2017, seven Baltimore police officers who served on a high-profile gun unit have been indicted on federal racketeering charges.

The case has the potential to throw into questions an untold number of other criminal cases in which the officers were involved, plus involve private citizens who were basically robbed of their cash and possessions.

The year-long investigation into the conduct of officers on the Gun Trace Task Force was performed by multiple federal agencies and kept secret even from the State’s Attorney until the arrests were made. The investigation started with an inquiry by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) into a local drug organization and eventually involved electronic surveillance by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

All seven of the officers were charged with offenses like shaking down private citizens for cash and pocketing the money, robbing victims of amounts ranging from a few hundred dollars to $200,000 in cash from an open safe. In addition, the officers filed false affidavits against alleged suspects and stopped private citizens who hadn’t committed any crimes in order to rob them of their cash and valuables. They also took cash, drugs, and weapons from crime scenes without filing reports.

Not content with just robbing crime scenes and individual victims, the officers also robbed the state itself through false claims for overtime pay. One of the officers filed for overtime while he was vacationing at Myrtle Beach. Another claimed overtime pay while he was gambling at a local casino. Several of the officers came close to doubling their base salary through overtime that way.

If convicted of racketeering and conspiracy charges, each officer will face a potential of twenty years in prison.

Anyone with an active case that involves any of the officers involved or the gun unit itself should contact their defense attorney for advice on how these latest developments could affect their claim. The unit reportedly made 110 gun arrests in less than 11 months last year, but many of those charges may now be questioned. Federal prosecutors have already dropped five cases that were pending while the officers were being actively investigated.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, “Seven Baltimore Police officers indicted on federal racketeering charges,” March 01, 2017

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