BALTIMORE -- Former Baltimore Police Gun Trace Task Force detective Momodu Gondo, who stole money as an officer while aiding members of a drug crew on the side, was sentenced to 10 years in prison Tuesday.
Gondo, 36, of Owings Mills, was the only officer in the case to be charged as part of two separate criminal conspiracies, and as a result faced the steepest possible sentence -- 60 years. But Gondo also offered significant testimony against both groups, and assistant U.S. Attorney Leo wise asked for 10 years, citing Gondo's cooperation.
Gondo's plea covered crimes between 2015 and 2016, but he later admitted to stealing money as far back as 2008. Among the crimes Gondo admitted to in his plea was acting as a lookout during a home invasion, stealing money during arrests and searches as an officer, arranging the sale of a seized gun and marijuana, and taking thousands of dollars in unearned overtime pay from the city.
It was Gondo's contacts with a North Baltimore drug crew that led investigators to the corrupt police unit. Harford County police investigating a rash of drug overdose cases were listening in on a drug dealer's phone when they learned he was speaking to Gondo.
That spurred an FBI wiretap of Gondo's phone, with a listening device later placed in his department vehicle.
Gondo testified that it was easy to cover up the crimes, and that he never feared internal affairs.
"When we wrote incident reports, if money was taken, if a person had $10,000, we may write we only have $5,000. Take the 5,000 and submit the other five," he testified. "Or sometimes just take everything."
The convicted officers received sentences ranging from seven to 25 years. Former Detectives Maurice Ward and Evodio Hendrix were sentenced to seven years; former Sgt. Thomas Allers received 15 years; former Detectives Daniel Hersl and Marcus Taylor, who both took their charges to trial and were convicted by a jury, received 18 years; and former Sgt. Wayne Jenkins received 25 years. They are serving their sentences in federal facilities across the country.
Gondo was longtime partners with Jemell Rayam, the only other officer who has not been sentenced. Both were members of the Gun Trace Task Force starting around 2010, well before the rest of the officers joined the squad between 2014 and 2016.
Gondo and Rayam both gave incriminating testimony against the other, with Gondo saying Rayam committed an unjustified shooting that was covered up, and Rayam saying Gondo once told him that he "laid someone out," which Rayam took to mean Gondo had killed someone.
Gondo also incriminated Sean Suiter, saying they were part of a squad of officers that stole money in the 2009 time period. Suiter was shot in the head and killed about eight months after the Gun Trace Task Force indictments, and on the day before he was set to testify in front of a grand jury investigating additional claims. The medical examiner's office ruled his death a homicide, while an independent panel that reviewed the case determined he likely took his own life. Suiter's family and other officers he worked with have defended his reputation.
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