Officer arrested in extortion 'sting' BALTIMORE CITY

September 09, 1993|By Roger Twigg | Roger Twigg,Staff Writer

A Baltimore policeman accused of extorting protection money from a drug dealer was arrested early yesterday in a "sting" operation by undercover officers -- a case that investigators said was part of a wider probe of police corruption.

Eastern District Officer Alan S. Johnson Jr., 28, was arrested at 12:35 a.m. in an alley behind the 1300 block of Bradford Ave. after an informant wearing a monitoring device dumped $3,000 into the rear of the policeman's patrol car parked there, according to a statement of charges filed in District Court.

Officer Johnson, a four-year member of the force, was charged with felony extortion and suspended from duty.

He was released on unsecured $10,000 bond pending an appearance Oct. 10 in Eastside District Court, a court commissioner said.

In a District Court application for an arrest warrant, investigators said that the case was part of a larger, ongoing probe of allegations that city law enforcement personnel "were extorting monies from drug dealers in return for allowing [them] to continue their criminal enterprise and avoid arrest."

Agent Doug Price, a department spokesman, said he could "neither confirm nor deny" specifics of the probe.

According to documents filed in court, the unidentified informant told police that Officer Johnson had "previously taken money" from him to allow his narcotics operation to continue.

A police source said that the narcotics dealer -- one of many operating on the city's east side -- chose to inform the department because he no longer wanted to make the payments.

In conversations monitored by investigators, Officer Johnson told the informant that if he were given money, he could prevent the informant from being arrested, according to the statement of charges. The officer arranged to meet the informant at 12.30 a.m. yesterday in the 1300 block of Bradford Ave., warning that failure to be there "would result in arrest," the documents said.

Members of the department's Internal Investigation Division set up a sting operation that was videotaped by a state trooper, the documents said.

At 12.30 a.m., Officer Johnson drove into the alley where the informant threw the money into the rear seat of the patrol car, according to the documents. Investigators immediately surrounded the vehicle and placed the officer under arrest.

Agent Price said the officer's handgun, badge and identification card were confiscated, and that he will have a hearing today to determine whether his suspension will be without pay.

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