Detectives' wiretapped chats aired at drug trial


A federal jury waded through hours of secretly recorded conversations yesterday that prosecutors say implicates two Baltimore police officers charged with organizing and running an illegal drug-dealing operation.

Prosecutors, on the third day of testimony, spent most of their time with an FBI agent who took the witness stand to interpret language used by street-level drug dealers - and the accused officers.

The FBI's seven-month wiretap probe led to the May 2005 arrests of detectives William A. King and Antonio L. Murray. Both are on trial in U.S. District Court, accused of conspiring to rob and extort cocaine, heroin and marijuana - as well as drug-related proceeds - from suspects they pursued on the streets of West Baltimore.

One 18-year-old woman testified yesterday that she was accosted by King on the street and eventually robbed of the money she had in her pockets. King let her go without charging her, she said, but he ordered her to stay in contact and give him information about the local drug trade.

But much of the day was spent listening as prosecutors played recordings of wiretaps on King's police department-issued cellular phone.

In those conversations, said FBI Special Agent Richard J. Wolf, King orchestrated drug deals and worked with Antonio Mosby, an addict and dealer, who was the detective's lookout. Mosby was later charged by federal officials, pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against King and Murray about their drug deals.

"Can we grind at least?" Mosby asked King during one of the recorded conversations.

Wolf told the jury that "grinding" is drug-world lingo for Mosby going onto the street to identify drug dealers, who were then busted - and robbed - by King and Murray.

Wolf's testimony was buttressed by FBI video surveillance of meetings King had with another informant, who was secretly working for federal agents.

Wolf testified that King gave FBI informant Davon Mayer several items to use for his illegal drug business, including a "cap 'em quick," a device to quickly fill gel capsules with heroin to sell on the street.

The trial, which started Tuesday in U.S. District Court, is expected to last three weeks. Testimony is scheduled to resume Monday.

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