GREENBELT, Md. (AP) — A Montgomery County police officer charged with illegally using computers to help her drug-dealing fiance was released on home confinement Friday and will be tracked through electronic monitoring equipment.
Delores Culmer, 37, of Silver Spring, Md., was arrested Wednesday on a criminal complaint charging her with conspiracy to deliver cocaine and computer fraud. U.S. Magistrate William Connolly agreed to release her from custody as her case moves forward.
Culmer is accused of using law-enforcement databases to run registration checks on associates of her fiance, who authorities identified in the complaint as a convicted drug dealer. Prosecutors say she ran checks in November 2009 on cars belonging to the girlfriend of a man who owed her fiance a drug debt. That woman later reported that her cars had been vandalized and were later the targets of arson, according to the complaint.
Authorities believe Culmer provided the information to her fiance to force the customer to make good on his debt.
The database that authorities say Culmer used is called the National Crime Information Center, or NCIC. The system is managed by the FBI and is a database that collects information from local, state and federal agencies, but its use is limited to official purposes.
“There would be no legitimate reason that Ms. Culmer would be running the NCIC checks on these cars,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Su said in court Friday.
The affidavit filed with the complaint says Culmer was a Pittsburgh police officer before joining the Montgomery County police force. But a spokeswoman for the Pittsburgh police force has said Culmer worked as an officer for the housing authority, but not for the city police.
Culmer wept as she entered the courtroom but did not speak during her brief hearing. Her defense lawyer, Andrew Szekely, declined to comment.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)