'Stop Snitching' figure charged with gun offense

January 06, 2009|By Tricia Bishop | Tricia Bishop,tricia.bishop@baltsun.com

A ninth person connected to the infamous Stop Snitching videos, which threaten violence against police informants, has been charged in Baltimore federal court as part of a six-year investigation that has led to the arrest of nearly four dozen Marylanders for crimes including racketeering, drug dealing and illegal arms possession.

Eric Bailey, 38, who proclaimed "rat poison" the cure for cooperators in the 2004 DVD, is among the final targets in the inquiry, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Weinstein said yesterday during a U.S. District Court hearing. A judge ordered Bailey to remain in custody pending trial.

Police carried out a predawn raid of Bailey's Baltimore home last month in search of drugs and weapons, and said they found him asleep with a semiautomatic handgun under his pillow.

"You got me, I knew you were coming, I was wondering what was taking so long," he is said to have told officers at the time. Bailey is charged with being a felon in possession of a gun, though Weinstein said he is attempting to build a murder case against Bailey based on the testimony of three cooperating witnesses. All of them have cut deals exchanging incriminating information for lesser sentences.

Federal prosecutors often pursue drug or gun charges against suspects in violent crimes to get them off the streets, Weinstein said. Capital cases tend to be a drain on resources, and they are more difficult to prove.

If convicted on the gun charge, Bailey faces a minimum mandatory sentence of 15 years in federal prison because of earlier drug and assault convictions, and a maximum term of life.

Two women, one of whom mouthed the words I love you to Bailey, appeared at yesterday's hearing to support him. After it was over, they decried the justice system's reliance on criminal informants.

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