Baltimore police officer charged in heroin conspiracy

Records: Officer conducted suspected drug deals at Northwest District station

July 19, 2011|By Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Sun

A Baltimore City police officer was arrested and charged Tuesday with leading a heroin distribution operation, including allegations that he arranged drug transactions while on duty and met conspirators in the parking lot of his district station, records show.

The officer, Daniel G. Redd, 41, was taken into custody Tuesday at the Northwest District police station, officials said. Several law enforcement sources say Redd had been under suspicion for years, but within the past six months city police asked the FBI to investigate.

The ensuing wiretap investigation, according to records, showed that Redd was at the top of a "significant drug trafficking" organization that "flooded the streets of Baltimore with heroin," FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard McFeely said in a statement.

The arrest is the latest black eye for the city Police Department, which in the past six months had more than 50 officers implicated in a kickback scheme involving a towing company and saw an on-duty officer fatally shot by other officers as they responded to a disturbance outside a nightclub. The kickback scheme has resulted in a slew of guilty pleas, while Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake appointed a commission to study the fatal shooting of Officer William H. Torbit.

Police said Redd's arrest shows that the agency is determined to root out corruption.

"The allegations against Daniel Redd are an affront to and undermine the integrity of the hard-working men and women of the Baltimore Police Department," Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III said in a statement. "We will not tolerate corruption among our ranks."

Redd is believed to be the first city officer charged with having a role in drug trafficking since city police officers William King and Antonio Murray were charged in 2005 with shaking down drug dealers and re-selling their product on the street. The officers were each sentenced to 100 years in prison.

On his Facebook page, Redd lists "Training Day," a movie in which Denzel Washington plays a corrupt police officer in Los Angeles, as one of his favorite movies.

Despite the investigation into Redd's alleged activities, he remained on the street making arrests. Court records show Redd is listed as a police witness in a handful of cases that are still pending, including attempted murder and robbery charges against two men.

But according to one source familiar with personnel matters, the department prevented him from ascending the leadership tree by repeatedly passing him over on the agency's promotional list.

At a brief afternoon court hearing, Redd, who is charged with firearms violations in addition to heroin distribution charges, was ordered held pending a detention hearing, with Assistant U.S. Attorney James Wallner citing "dangerousness and risk of flight."

Redd did not respond to the allegations during the hearing.

Documents show the drug organization was headed by Redd and a man named Abdul Zakaria, also known as Tamim Mamah. A search warrant affidavit alleges that Zakaria, 34, of Owings Mills, and others obtained heroin from suppliers in Africa and distributed heroin to Redd and two other men named in the indictment: Dyrell Garrett, 33, of Randallstown, and Malik Jones, 40, of Owings Mills.

Redd is accused of distributing heroin to others, including Shanel Stallings, 32, who is named in the indictment.

Conversations intercepted on wiretaps show that on March 2, Redd, who was on duty, made a series of calls to Mamah in which FBI agents say the pair used heavily coded language to arrange a drug deal. Stallings called Redd and said simply, "40," which FBI Agent Craig Monroney wrote referred to 40 grams of heroin.

"Alright … let me .. let me make a call," Redd said, according to records.

Redd then phoned Mamah, and said, "Hey, I need 40."

About an hour later, Redd told Stallings to meet him "at the district," which authorities say refers to the Northwest District police station.

That belief was reaffirmed on March 31, when Redd was overheard telling Mamah to meet him "at my station." Video surveillance from the Northwest District police station obtained by agents shows Redd retrieving something from his vehicle and walking out of view, records show. A short time later, Redd is observed climbing out of Mamah's white Lincoln Navigator.

Police believe Redd was giving Mamah heroin, and that Mamah turned the drugs over to Garrett.

Officers then attempted to stop Garrett to retrieve the heroin, but Garrett fled, prompting a high-speed chase in which he was able to escape. Police later found his vehicle abandoned, with a cell phone and a BG&E bill with his name inside.

Authorities wrote in documents that they also captured Redd arranging deals for 500 grams of heroin, and in another instance offering protection for Stallings as she completed a drug transaction for him.

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