7 Baltimore officers federally indicted for racketeering including robbing victims
BALTIMORE (WBFF) – Seven Baltimore City Police officers are being federally indicted for a racketeering conspiracy, according to the Justice Department, in an investigative case that was secretly conducted and kept quiet about even from the city's State's Attorney.
The arrests of the officers allegedly involved in racketeering were announced in the U.S. Attorney’s Office on Wednesday morning. The accused officers were reportedly robbing victims ranging from $200,000 to a 'couple hundred dollars,' filing false affidavits, and making fraudulent overtime claims while officers vacationed in Myrtle Beach and gambled at casinos.
One officer is also charged in a separate drug distribution indictment. Sometimes, narcotics and weapons were seized in addition to money and, "in several instances, the defendants did not file any police reports," the indictment alleges.
"These seven police officers betrayed the trust" of not only the police department but also the public, said Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, during a time when the city was "under scrutiny" and trying to heal in a post-Freddie Gray climate.
Davis added that reform isn't just a document laying out policies and it isn't just a press conference, it's taking a hard long look at those who "choose to betray the community."
According to a handout by the U.S. Attorney's Office, the involved officers have been identified as Momodu Bondeva Kenton Gondo a/k/a 'GMoney' and 'Mike,' Wayne Earl Jenkins, Evodio Calles Hendrix, Maurice Kilpatrick Ward, Jemell Lamar Rayam, Daniel Thomas Hersl and Marcus Roosevelt Taylor. All have been suspended without pay and are in custody of the FBI as police are search for more victims who may have interacted with any of these officers under suspicious circumstances.
The Baltimore DEA’s Assistant Special Agent in Charge Don Hibbert explained that the DEA was conducting a probe when they "discovered information in the course of our drug investigation and we were able to work with our partners at Baltimore PD and the FBI and passed the information along and it worked the way it should” have been.
Hibbert adds that the indictment "casts a negative shadow on all of us in law enforcement in general."
The handout detailed many examples of alleged abuse of power. According to one instance, on March 22, 2016, Jenkins, Hendrix, Taylor and Ward "stole money, including approximately $200,000 from a safe they opened and from two bags they seized, and property, including a Breitling men's wristwatch valued at $4,000 from a search location."
Furthermore, federal prosecutors report that Sgt. Jenkins falsely claimed five days of overtime while he was in Myrtle Beach; he racked up $83,000 in overtime pay in 2016. Another officer, Det. Rayam, was reportedly gambling at Maryland Live! Casino when he too claimed to be working.
"Easy money J. Easy money," Gondo reportedly told Rayam, adding that "one hour can be eight hours," referring to falsifying overtime.
Commissioner Davis did recognize the "apparent irony" that these overtime claims were being made at a time when the DOJ was conduction an investigation into the police department's civil rights violations.
In another case, Sgt. Jenkins and detectives Gondo, Rayam, Hendrix and Hersl conducted a traffic stop of "A.F." on August 24, 2016 and while he was allegedly detained, the group of police "stole narcotics and $1700 from him and then released him."
In a separate incident, on September 7, Sgt. Jenkins and detectives Gondo, Hersl, Rayam, Taylor and Ward stopped "S.S." as he was leaving a storage facility parking lot. According to the U.S. Attorney, Taylor told "S.S." they had a warrant to search his storage unit, when in fact, they did not. Hersl, Jenkins and Rayam are accused of going into the person's storage unit and taking a sock filled with $4,800 and removing $2,000.
Rayam then apparently described to Gondo "how he told Jenkins that he had only 'taxed' S.S. a 'little bit' referring to only stealing some of S.S.'s cash. Rayam also told Gondo, that he had to give... Wayne Jenkins, 'a hundred dollars' of the cash stolen from S.S.'
Rosenstein said that the indictment alleges that these officers "were stopping people who had not committed crimes and stealing money."
Rosenstein added, "like all victims in criminal cases, they'd be subject to a restitution order" and said that there's "no evidence" indicating the that money stolen by police from the victims had been illegally obtained by the victims. The department believes that there could be more victims impacted by interactions with these seven officers. If you have any additional information regarding these officers, call 1-800-CALL-FBI.
The indictment also alleges that when officers found out about internal investigation interviews, they coached one another ahead of time. On or around September 7, Gondo and Rayam were inside Gondo's Baltimore City Police car. Gondo asked Rayam if he was going to the Internal Investigations Division (IID) to be interviewed. When Rayam said he had to give IID a report on the 15th, Gondo reportedly told 'Sarge' not to 'say anything about the entry.' Later on the 13th, again in Gondo's police car, they "discussed how what is recorded on their body cameras will 'come back to bite [them]' and how Rayam would meet up with Sergeant A. to "coach him" before the internal investigations interview.
On or around September 22, Gondo and Rayam were again in Gondo's police vehicle, this time discussing an incident where Jenkins was fighting with a civilian and 'hit the phone out of her hand.' Gondo then told Rayam, "I turned the camera off," a reference to his body camera, according to the indictment, which states that Rayam responded, "Oh yea, f--- that s---," adding, "so basically you were never here."
Rosenstein did take a moment to acknowledge that his time in Maryland was coming to a close with a national role in the Trump administration on the horizon. He recognized the "superb work" and cooperation of prosecutors and police and asserted, "I think the majority of BPD officers are going to be happy" about the indictment of their fellow officers accused of abusing their police powers. FBI Special Agent in Charge Gordon B. Johnson also acknowledged cooperation by police in the case.
"We don't prosecute officers who are overzealous," Rosenstein said, emphasizing that this indictment is about serious criminal wrongdoing by officers.
Meanwhile Davis recognized that "reform isn't always pretty. It's messy sometimes," but, he said, "We remain committed to reform."
He said that these seven officers "acted disgracefully" and to him, "it's a punch in the gut."
He added that "to so arrogantly" take money of taxpayers' dollars by falsifying overtime claims, it's an indication of a disturbing "pattern of practice" that's been ongoing.
Davis finished by stating, "We're not going to stop problem-solving" and looking to hold people accountable just because a consent decree has been signed.
In response, the city's Fraternal Order of Police's president Gene Ryan released a statement which appears in full below.
"We are very disturbed over the charges filed against our members by the U.S. Attorney today. These officers are entitled to due process and a fair trial in accordance with the Constitution and the laws of our state, It would be inappropriate for me to make any further comment until the charges leveled against these officers are finally resolved."
To that effect, Rosenstein did make it clear during the press conference that the officers are presumed innocent until found guilty. The officers charged in the racketeering conspiracy each face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the conspiracy and for racketeering. All officers were taken into custody at the Baltimore Police Internal Affairs section Wednesday morning.
The officers charged in the racketeering indictment are:
- Detective Momodu Bondeva Kenton Gondo, a/k/a GMoney and Mike, age 34, of Owings Mills (Hired 11/29/2005)
- Detective Evodio Calles Hendrix, age 32, of Randallstown (Hired 4/2/2009)
- Detective Daniel Thomas Hersl, age 47, of Joppa (Hired 9/7/1999)
- Sergeant Wayne Earl Jenkins, age 36, of Middle River (Hired 2/20/2003)
- Detective Jemell Lamar Rayam, age 36, of Owings Mills (Hired 7/12/2005)
- Detective Marcus Roosevelt Taylor, age 30, of Glen Burnie (Hired 5/18/2009)
- Detective Maurice Kilpatrick Ward, age 36, of Middle River (Hired 10/8/2003)
A separate indictment alleges that Detective Gondo joined a drug-dealing conspiracy. In addition to Gondo, the other indictment charges:
- Antonio Shropshire, a/k/a Brill, B, and Tony, age 31, of Baltimore
- Omari Thomas, a/k/a Lil’ Bril, Lil B, and Chewy, age 25, of Middle River
- Antoine Washington, a/k/a Twan, age 27, of Baltimore
- Alexander Campbell, a/k/a Munch, age 28, of Baltimore
- Glen Kyle Wells, a/k/a Lou, and Kyle, age 31, of Baltimore
The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein, Baltimore FBI’s Special Agent in Charge Gordon B. Johnson, Baltimore DEA’s Assistant Special Agent in Charge Don A. Hibbert, and Police’s Commissioner Kevin Davis.
“Today’s federal indictment of several BPD officers will have pervasive implications on numerous active investigations and pending cases in our office," Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said in an emailed statement. "Nonetheless, we will continue our strong partnership with the Police Department and U.S. Attorney’s Office to identify, prosecute and ultimately eradicate those bad actors who do a disservice to the dedicated and hard-working officers who risk their lives daily to protect and serve our communities."