Probe of jury charges pursued Prosecutor looking at report that police were obstructed BALTIMORE CITY

September 09, 1993|By Joe Nawrozki | Joe Nawrozki,Staff Writer

The state special prosecutor is pursuing numerous allegations in a sealed Baltimore grand jury report that accused city police officials and prosecutors of thwarting major drug investigations and a murder probe involving a state senator.

Special prosecutor Stephen Montanarelli's decision to continue the investigation indicates that the allegations warrant a closer look and possible criminal prosecution, a source close to the investigation said. The grand jury report came under heavy criticism from Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke and city State's Attorney Stuart O. Simms when it was released in March.

One of the cases still in the special prosecutor's active file is the unsolved murder of a city minister. State Sen. Larry Young is a central figure but not a suspect in that investigation.

Another case involves a well-known Baltimore attorney who was allegedly involved and living with a high-level cocaine dealer. Several other high-profile cases involve drug investigations that were dropped and instances of a well-known figure purportedly involved in laundering dope money.

In a confidential 26-page report on his investigation of the grand jury allegations, Mr. Montanarelli dismissed accusations by the panel against three people who grand jurors felt used their influence to avoid arrest or prosecution related to allegations of drug dealing and narcotics money-laundering.

"We closed those three allegations because . . . they were cases we could deal with expeditiously," Mr. Montanarelli said yesterday.

"We have begun probing some of the other charges in the report and I would hope we could be concluded by the end of this year," he said.

The allegations raised in the grand jury report that are being explored by Mr. Montanarelli and his staff include:

* Alleged irregularities in the investigation of the 1990 murder of the Rev. Marvin Moore -- a probe in which Senator Young was questioned. A police file containing Senator Young's name was allegedly altered to remove his name. The alteration allegedly occurred after Col. George Christian, commander of the city department's criminal investigation division, demanded the file and the name of the confidential informant.

Investigators initially refused to comply with Colonel Christian's demands, but later did so after the colonel cited orders from Commissioner Edward V. Woods, a longtime associate of Senator Young, sources said.

* The use of the department's rotation policy to obstruct investigations of "politically, socially or professionally well-connected individuals" by transferring officers out of the drug enforcement units.

"One of the investigations allegedly thwarted by the use of the rotation policy involved a well-known member of the community who was the subject of an investigation in 1979 and again in 1986," according to the special prosecutor's report.

'Laundering' money

"The grand jury allegedly found evidence that this individual was 'laundering drug money' from his/her cash-based business and that the investigation met resistance by higher echelons" of the city police department with the investigating officer ultimately transferred.

* An investigation of a prominent Baltimore attorney suspected of narcotics violations and living with a cocaine dealer was "stopped by the state's attorney's office."

* In the mid-1980s, a drug distribution organization known as the "New York Boys" was aggressively pursued by the city police Special Tactical Operations Patrol (STOP) squad. The officers from that squad alleged their efforts were "undermined by high-ranking officials in the state's attorney's office."

* There were "improprieties and cronyism" in the Internal Investigation Division's probe of the Northwest District's Drug Enforcement Unit. This unit was investigated for allegedly falsifying information on search warrant affidavits, including one for a raid on the house of a relative of Mayor Schmoke.

Late last month, three officers involved in that raid -- Nicholas S. Constantine, John Mohr and Chris Wade -- notified the mayor that they would file a $15 million civil action against the city, claiming they are being unduly punished for leading the July 17, 1991, raid on the Northwest Baltimore home of Ronald E. Hollie, who is married to a cousin of the mayor's wife.

No drugs were found in the house.

* The investigation of a well-known drug dealer was thwarted by the city police department in 1988. The investigating detective allegedly elected to transfer out of drug enforcement prior to his rotation date.

* The planned search of a nightclub for drugs was abruptly halted when a "high-ranking police supervisor requested to see the search warrant. The night club was owned by a prominent city drug dealer."

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