BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Two former BPD detectives testified Tuesday against Eric Snell, a former Baltimore and Philadelphia police officer, accused of selling cocaine and heroin.
Snell is fighting the charges.
Prosecutors said he received the drugs from officers who were part of Baltimore’s corrupt Gun Trace Task Force.
Acting BPD Commissioner Gary Tuggle watched some of the testimony and said he believes this type of corruption no longer exists in the department.
“The men and women on the force find it abhorrent,” Tuggle said.
Derek Hines, the prosecutor in the case, told jurors the evidence against Snell is overwhelming.
“This isn’t a case against all police officer, it is a case about drug dealers who hid behind their uniforms and badges,” Hines said.
He showed jurors body-worn camera video of cocaine officers took from a man during a traffic stop near Mondawmin Mall.
Det. Momodu Gondo, who has a plea deal with the government, said Sgt. Wayne Jenkins chased the man’s car at speeds of 80mph through residential areas of Liberty Heights Avenue in October 2016.
He said only a small amount of the recovered cocaine was turned in to evidence as officers lied on official forms.
Gondo said stealing drugs and money was a rite of passage among plainclothes officers in his career.
“It was a culture thing. Money was taken to build trust [among officers],” he told jurors.
Gondo estimated he stole around $100,000 during his time on the police force. He has yet to be sentenced.
He recounted an incident where officers and their associates dressed as postal workers to rob an apartment in Owings Mills.
He testified they often entered homes without search warrants.
Prosecutors said he was close to Snell—as was former Det. Jemell Rayam. They showed jurors pictures of them together during a trip to Las Vegas.
Rayam also took the witness stand. He was Snell’s former roommate and the best man at his wedding.
He said he was under pressure to sell drugs taken by Sgt. Jenkins—and wanted extra cash to pay for his gambling debts.
He testified that he turned to Snell, who had left the BPD several years prior and had connections to a large drug-dealing network in Philadelphia.
Prosecutors read text messages between Snell and Rayam where they spoke in code.
“Nine tickets to an Orioles’ home game” meant “nine ounces of cocaine.” “Home game” was referenced because the O’s wear white uniforms.
Prosecutors also showed jurors pictures of Snell at a bank as he deposited money from the illicit drug sales into Rayam’s account.
Now facing more than a decade in federal prison, Rayan told jurors the “few thousand dollars” he got from the deal “weren’t worth it.”
Snell’s defense attorney attacked the credibility of the witnesses.
Testimony resumes Wednesday morning.