Reporting Alex DeMetrick
MILLERSVILLE, Md. (WJZ/AP) — The crooks never intend it, but sometimes crime does pay off for police officers. It has for Anne Arundel County Police.
Alex DeMetrick reports nearly half a million dollars that once belonged to criminals is now firmly in the police department’s budget.
Not every arrest police make is as low-tech as busting down a door.
In the age of the Internet, some of the biggest hauls are made with high-tech savvy.
“I present this check for $470, 407.62 to the Anne Arundel County Police Department,” said William Winter, ICE Special Agent.
Nearly half a million dollars is Anne Arundel’s share of a joint federal/local investigation.
It centered on a number of Internet gambling sites and money laundering.
Immigration and customs enforcement, or ICE, along with undercover Anne Arundel officers, set up a phony money handling operation called “Linwood” to track down those profiting from illegal gambling in Maryland.
“We seek to deprive criminal organizations of their sole motivation: money. This hits them where it hurts most and cripples their criminal enterprises,” said Winter.
The big check was Anne Arundel’s share of the money seized in the operation. The county police force has three officers assigned to ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations division.
“It’s going to be a big help for the purpose of undercover vehicles, for further equipment. It will be very helpful to Anne Arundel Police,” said John Leopold, Anne Arundel County Executive.
Criminal enterprises funding cops isn’t new, but in the current economy, it is very welcome.
“Oh, it is huge, especially in these economic times we have today. We just went through a very tough budget where we had vehicles taken away. We’re not able to do the things we really would like to do to help the citizens of Anne Arundel County,” said Chief James Teare, Anne Arundel County Police.
The money will go toward some high-tech hardware, the purchase of more non-lethal weapons and officer training. It also goes to faster traffic tickets, via patrol car computers.
Sometimes, all that technology doesn’t help the crooks.
The seizure warrants brought in illegal funds from as far away as Guam, Portugal and the Netherlands.
A federal grand jury in April charged two gambling businesses and three people with an illegal gambling business and money laundering operation. Authorities also issued seizure warrants for 11 bank accounts from Charlotte to Panama to Portugal.
It is illegal for Internet gambling companies to do business in Maryland.