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Baltimore police officers at center of drug investigation

Sometimes the people who get caught up in criminal investigations and end up facing charges are those whose duty it is to enforce the law. That's the case with members of a Baltimore police unit who have been accused of stealing drugs from dealers and others over the course of several years. They've also been accused of stealing other items during searches.

A number of Baltimore officers and detectives have been indicted as a result of the federal investigation. One of them is accused of conspiring with a former Baltimore officer to sell heroin and cocaine that was allegedly seized by Baltimore officers.

That officer was working for the Philadelphia Police Department, and has now been suspended. The others were members of the city's now-disbanded Gun Trace Task Force.

Three officers and four detectives have confessed to federal racketeering. One Baltimore officer has also admitted to assisting a local drug dealer steal jewelry, drugs and cash from another dealer. Four officers are claiming innocence. They're currently in prison, with trials set to begin next year.

The alleged actions of members of the department have caused their elite unit to be disbanded. Since that time, gun-related arrests have dropped by a quarter. The city also ended its use of plainclothes officers. Further, over 100 cases on which the accused officers worked have been dropped.

In cases where multiple people are accused of related crimes, it can sometimes be difficult for prosecutors to determine precisely who did what. That's why it's essential for people facing charges to have their own attorney to present their individual story and protect their rights.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, "Feds indict Philadelphia officer in corruption case against elite Baltimore police unit," Tim Prudente, Nov. 14, 2017

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