City officer sold drugs and gun, U.S. charges

April 02, 2003|By Del Quentin Wilber | Del Quentin Wilber,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore police officer who worked in one of his agency's most sensitive units was charged with federal narcotics violations after he was accused of selling a gun and cocaine to a confidential informant working for authorities during a monthlong investigation, court records show.

Eduardo Munoz Jr., 32, who joined the department in 2000, was being held without bail pending a detention hearing in U.S. District Court in Baltimore scheduled for today. He has been suspended from the department without pay, police officials said.

Munoz worked as a Spanish-speaking interpreter in the city department's criminal intelligence unit, which keeps tabs on drug gang activity and investigates potential terrorism threats. City police officials declined to elaborate on Munoz's duties in the unit.

It is unclear how long Munoz is alleged to have been operating a drug ring, according to court records filed in federal court. Federal agents wrote in court papers, in which Munoz is charged with conspiring to possess and intending to distribute drugs, that they began to investigate the officer about a month ago.

That is when a confidential informant told the agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Drug Enforcement Administration that Munoz and another man were selling drugs out of an auto body shop in the 900 block of S. Wolfe St. in Southeast Baltimore, the records show.

Munoz and Jose Raul Estela, 29, were selling about 3 kilograms of cocaine a month, mostly to other Hispanics, the informant told agents, according to the court documents.

Munoz tried to give a handgun to the informant in late February, the agents wrote, but the informant refused to take the weapon.

Agents began staging a series of meetings during the next month between the informant and the two suspects at their auto body shop. Agents monitored the meetings with electronic surveillance equipment, the records show.

The informant bought a .357-caliber revolver and several ounces of cocaine from Munoz and Estela during the meetings, the agents wrote.

Agents arrested Munoz and Estela on Monday and seized 9 ounces of cocaine at the auto body shop. Agents found about $750 on Munoz -- about $600 had been given to him by the informant for cocaine, the agents wrote.

Munoz is the second city officer arrested on drug charges since March 21, when Officer Aleacia Hill, 25, was charged in Baltimore County with possessing drugs and obliterating the serial number of a handgun.

Hill was later indicted by a city grand jury on drug conspiracy and misconduct in office charges.

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