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Supervisor of Baltimore Police Gun Trace Task Force set to plead guilty

Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Sun on

Published in News & Features

BALTIMORE -- The former supervisor of the corrupt Baltimore Police Gun Trace Task Force is set to plead guilty on Friday, according to court records and his attorney.

Court records show former Sgt. Wayne Jenkins is scheduled for a re-arraignment on that morning in U.S. District Court, and his attorney, Steve Levin, confirmed he will be entering a guilty plea.

Jenkins will become the sixth Baltimore officer charged in the federal racketeering case to plead guilty. He was one of three officers slated to go to trial on Jan. 22.

Levin declined to comment further, including specifying which counts Jenkins is pleading guilty to and whether he is cooperating with authorities.

Prosecutors allege Jenkins led a unit that robbed drug dealers and innocent civilians, and in some cases directed that drugs and guns seized by the unit be re-sold on the streets. Sometimes, prosecutors said, Jenkins pretended to be a federal agent to conceal his identity. His unit falsified court documents to cover its tracks -- or didn't file paperwork at all -- and also raked in tens of thousands of dollars in unearned overtime pay from the city, according to the indictment.

Jenkins was later hit with additional charges alleging that in 2010 he was involved with planting drugs on a suspect who had fled from police and crashed. Federal prosecutors say Detective Sean Suiter was duped into recovering the drugs from the scene. Suiter was killed in November, one day before he was set to testify before a federal grand jury investigating the claims.

 

The case may be the biggest corruption scandal to hit the Baltimore Police Department: Seven officers from a single high-profile unit were indicted in February and charged with racketeering conspiracy, the result of a wiretap investigation by federal authorities that also included placing recording devices in police vehicles. An eighth officer from the unit was indicted in August.

A former city officer who was working for police in Philadelphia also has been charged with participating in the conspiracy.

The alleged crimes took place during a federal civil rights review of the Police Department, and stretch back years to when some of the officers were in other units in different parts of the city. One of the officers who pleaded guilty had been promoted to a Drug Enforcement Administration task force.

The fallout from the indictments has included hundreds of dropped court cases that relied on the word of the officers, with the public defender's office saying thousands of cases have been compromised. Notices for dozens of civil claims also have been filed with the city.

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