A federal judge has delayed until Friday a decision on whether to detain a suspended Howard County police officer charged with distribution of crack cocaine.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul M. Rosenberg said he would release Officer Gary A. Thomas to a halfway house to await trial if Thomas' family can post the "substantial" bail recommended by a Pre-Trial Services officer.
Rosenberg ruled yesterday that he would release Emmett Jones, an alleged accomplice of Thomas, to a halfway house today if Jones' family could post a $150,000 property bond.
At a bail hearing in U.S. District Court in Baltimore yesterday, As
sistant U.S. Attorney Andrea L. Smith told the judge that "words cannot describe his [Thomas'] conduct.
"By day, he was a friendly police officer protecting the community, and by night he was in a nightclub at Fort Meade telling people he was a drug dealer," Smith said. "In dealing drugs, he crossed the line. He disregarded the law, and felt that the rules did not apply to him."
Smith asked Rosenberg to detain the suspects without bond pending trial because the government regards both of them as dangers to the community and risks of flight to avoid prosecution if they were to be freed.
Thomas, of the 5400 block of Harpers Farm Road in Columbia, was arrested by federal drug agents Friday at Howard County police headquarters. He was suspended without pay the same day pending resolution of the criminal charges.
The prosecutor said Jones also was arrested Friday, as he attempted to sell 28.9 grams of crack to an undercover agent.
Smith said Thomas "told undercover officers how he beat the drug urinalysis in the Howard County Police Department" and "was proud of how he was able to work as a police officer and deal drugs on the side for a little extra money."
Thomas also was nearly arrested for disorderly conduct in an incident in Washington last month in which he allegedly took Jones' car and hid an estimated $5,000 worth of crack in it after Jones fled from police who tried to arrest him then, Smith said.
Jones eventually was arrested anyway, and is under indictment on federal cocaine charges in Washington, Smith said.
The prosecutor said Thomas introduced Jones to undercover agents and negotiated drug purchases.