Another Baltimore Cop Facing Criminal Charges, This Time For Stealing 3 Kilos Of Coke From A Drug Bust

from the know-thy-enemy-or-whatever dept

All hail the mighty drug warriors! The War on Drugs is being fought by people who like cash, easy busts, and imagined traffic violations. The "soldiers" in the "trenches" literally believe they're soldiers in the trenches, fighting a war at home -- not as protectors and servants, but as a conquering army sent in to control the local populace.

The Baltimore PD has problems within its drug enforcement units. Several. Enough that the DOJ stepped in and forced the city and the PD to sign a consent agreement in which the PD would be forced to do what it always should have done: respect the Constitution and the rights of the people the PD serves.

Dozens of cases were dismissed after a cop was caught by his own body camera appearing to plant drugs at the scene of an arrest. It turned out he was just doing a dramatic reenactment of his own discovery earlier, but forgot about the rolling 30-second buffer which caught him shoving drugs into a coffee can and then pretending to have just discovered it the second time around.

But that's only one tip of the PD's garbage floe. Hundreds of cases are up for dismissal now. Misconduct appears to be the rule, not the exception. And it has resulted in the city's drug warriors being exposed as no better than the perps they went after. Here's Justin Fenton reporting for the Baltimore Sun:

It was billed as the biggest cocaine bust in Baltimore Police Department history: officers from the elite Violent Crimes Impact Division conducting surveillance on a West Baltimore drug trafficker a decade ago found 41 kilograms of cocaine in the back of a truck.

“Just good old fashioned police work from the ground up," read the commendation awarded by the department to officers in on the bust.

[...]

Detective Ivo Louvado was charged Thursday with lying to the FBI about participating in a scheme to sell cocaine from that bust. Prosecutors said in court records that he and two others conspired to sell 3 kilograms that were not reported as seized, giving the drugs to a confidential informant to sell and dividing the proceeds among themselves. Louvado’s alleged cut: $10,000.

The glowing commendation that has been tarnished by this discovery can be seen here. It lauds seven members of the PD's violent crime unit for their bust of "five violent traffickers" along with the recovery of 44 kilos of drugs. Or 41, as it was reported at the time:

"These [drugs], wherever they were destined, whether Western Maryland, the Eastern Shore or East or West Baltimore, they are affecting our communities," [Police Chief] Bealefeld said at a news conference. "Forty-one kilos of cocaine will not reach the streets of our city. All of us can take some comfort in that."

All seven of the officers were given Bronze Stars for their anti-drug work "along the I-95 corridor." But at least three of those officers decided a commendation and a paycheck wasn't enough appreciation for their hard work. All of this escaped notice for nearly a decade.

Now that someone outside of the department is paying attention -- specifically the US Attorney's office -- things like this are no longer going unnoticed (or deliberately being ignored). Louvado's indictment makes him the 14th officer charged in this investigation.

All of this stems from the PD's Gun Trace Task Force, which ran pretty much unsupervised for years. It's former leader, Sgt. Wayne Jenkins, is serving a 25-year sentence on federal racketeering charges. And its former members are the reason prosecutors are dropping hundreds of cases and opening up belated investigations into its strike force's tactics.

Fourteen cops facing criminal charges is absurd and should be shocking. This just means 14 cops were finally caught, not that the PD and federal prosecutors have actually rid the department of most of its bad cops. Any department that finds itself under a DOJ consent decree has allowed enough misconduct to go unpunished it has managed to alter almost every aspect of day-to-day police work to the detriment of those asked to fund the PD and pay for substandard, abusive policing. There's a small chance this will result in a better police department, but history has shown us bad cops -- and those who enable them -- are incredibly resilient.

Filed Under: baltimore, drug bust, drugs, ivo louvado, police, stealing


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  • identicon
    Qwertygiy, 23 Mar 2020 @ 2:33pm

    It's like some new twist on Poe's Law

    Wow. The old meme about the drug stash dwindling as it moves up the supply chain has become reality.

    You know the meme...
    "Congratulations on seizing 100 kilos of coke, Officer."
    "Thank you, Lieutenant. All 95 kilos are on their way to storage."
    "All 80 kilos successfully received."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Upstream (profile), 23 Mar 2020 @ 2:58pm

    Have there been any instances where a DOJ consent decree has actually worked in the long term? It seems to me that these are just to give the ephemeral impression of "doing something."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Tim R (profile), 23 Mar 2020 @ 3:04pm

    It's former leader, Sgt. Wayne Jenkins, is serving a 25-year sentence on federal racketeering charges.

    I guess it really is RICO every once in a while.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Upstream (profile), 23 Mar 2020 @ 3:35pm

      Re:

      Yes! IANAL but I have long thought that too many people take a much too narrow view of what qualifies under RICO. Just because an Organization wasn't started (or doesn't exist) for the express purpose of criminal activity does not mean it is not Influenced by Racketeers and Corrupt.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    K`Tetch (profile), 23 Mar 2020 @ 3:59pm

    Er, why didn't they try good faith and/or qualified immunity.

    I mean, are they entirely sure there's not been a prior case where a drug unit (not just 'an officer', but a coordinated unit) took cocaine (not just 'drugs', but specifically cocaine) and attempted to sell it?

    Because i really don' think there's been a specific case 'on point' that the courts have ruled on, and thus the officers can't be aware that it's against the law. Come on Timmy, you can't go falling down the well of "expecting the cops to follow laws without specific detailed instructions that something is against the law' - Especially not when Lassie is actually a police sniffer dog and just alerts based on handler cues and not actual incidents.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 23 Mar 2020 @ 4:36pm

      Re:

      ... Have your insightful vote, just know that it was not a happy one to give.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 24 Mar 2020 @ 4:48am

      Re:

      "Er, why didn't they try good faith and/or qualified immunity."

      Because qualified immunity only immunizes against civil suits.

      Normally that makes a corrupt officer completely immune to prosecution since DA's, when it comes to offending cops, are almost always willing to bend prosecutorial discretion into a moebius strip with "nope!" written on that one side whenever a case involving a corrupt officer comes along.

      The saddest part of this story is where you can pretty much guess that the only reason the DA got off his ass and prosecuted was because the story was too high-key to remain covered anyway and he'd look even worse if he let it slide as usual.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Mar 2020 @ 4:03pm

    It's disgusting how many tyrants, corrupt pigs there are!!! Which is most ALL. If a so-called Good Cop just stands there and does nothing, that's not a good cop!!! It's all about the THIN BLUE LINE. The biggest GANG in this country. It's pretty disgusting. Just go on Youtube and do a search of "cop planting drugs".

    I was watching one a few days ago. These people should be thrown into jail for DOUBLE or TRIPLE the time the person who they planted those drugs on would have ended up getting. They should also lose their pension. The one they planted the drugs on and screwed up their life should get a nice big paycheck also. If you can't trust the police or those that supposedly look over the police and see no wrongdoing either, there is a huge problem.

    So I saw this a few days ago. I tried a normal search and it seems YouTube is bidding it and so I had to look through my History.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMQuryzz-ds

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 23 Mar 2020 @ 4:45pm

    Now that they pinky-promised to behave, all is well

    The response to rampant abuse of power and violations of the law and public rights should not be the DOJ or another agency coming in and making the police promise to do better, it should be a purge of the entire department with calls for new hires to replace those that have just been sacked.

    If a department is acting badly enough to get federal attention that's probably a pretty good indicator that they've reached the point of total corruption, and at that point a 'consent decree' is nothing more than a slap on the wrist and telling them not to get caught next time. Fire and bring charges when appropriate and only then will police actually give a damn about those pesky 'laws' and 'rights'.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), 24 Mar 2020 @ 1:09am

    From the Felton article:

    The charges say that 41 kilograms were submitted as evidence, but Louvado, Gladstone and “V.R.” later found three more kilograms from the Murphy seizure that were left behind. It is not clear whether it was an oversight or intentional.

    I'm sure it was unintentional, because drug dealers always put 41 kilos in the back and seperately hide another 3 kilos inside the spare tire, where no cop with a search warrant would ever think to look.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Daydream, 24 Mar 2020 @ 2:55am

    Conspiring to sell it, prosecutors say. As opposed to planting it in suspects' houses to get easy arrests and plea bargains?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 24 Mar 2020 @ 9:30am

    "Got it. 44 kilos of illegal narcotics seized? Good job."

    "Well done securing the 41 kilos, Captain."

    "Thanks Sarge, you did an outstanding job bringing in those 38 kilos."

    "Where did you find those 35 kilos"

    "He was hiding the 32 kilos in the back of this truck."

    "Want me to start loading these 29 kilos into the van?"

    "I'm not sure the cart is big enough to hold 26 kilos. You should take multiple trips."

    "Here's 23 kilos of seized cocaine for evidence storage"

    "Yep, got it. 20 kilos secured in evidence storage."

    "How many years you think this guy is going to get for trafficking 18 kilos?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    ROGueS, 25 Mar 2020 @ 8:10am

    re: the word "violence" thrust into every potheads actions

    The Domestic Violence Industrial Complex's (DVIC) greatest victory was the gendering of violence as exclusively male, and then, using the word "violence" in every state action, as we see in this band of robbers acronym: Violent Crimes Impact Division

    I am willing to bet that the majority of their busts are potheads, and street level drug addicts.

    Yet the "Good men/bad men" narrative rolls on unabated. I don't wonder why these things keep "happening"

    https://menaregood.com/wordpress/lies-and-slander-in-the-domestic-violence-ind ustrial-complex/

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      teka, 25 Mar 2020 @ 12:04pm

      Re: re: the word "violence" thrust into every potheads actions

      Thanks for sharing a link to an unrelated and very angry screed, a short-form novella of out of context rage, anecdotes and graphic metaphor.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        ROGueS, 26 Mar 2020 @ 7:05am

        Re: Re: re: the word "violence" thrust into every poth

        Care to elaborate, tek9 or at least cite evidence that the linked material is out of context(according to you, a tone troll?

        I think that phrasing lower tier males as violent is the EXACT problem the article above addresses-did you manage to read Mr. Cushings excellent article up there?

        But defining men as violent is what precipitates these ever increasing violent actions BY the police, directed at lower tier males and minorities, so

        the article is TOTALLY relevant to the good men/bad men paradox

        it isn't angry, nor a novella (sorry not all humans are as skillful as you and Donald Trump at 180 character Tweet level intellectual reductionism), out of context, or graphic?

        I mean, there's plenty to talk about.

        But you didn't come here for the talking, did you? And how are things at the JTRIG Derail Center these days anyways?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 26 Mar 2020 @ 9:44am

          Re: Re: Re: re: the word "violence" thrust into every

          Looks like we found who used all that missing crack.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            ROGueS, 27 Mar 2020 @ 7:46am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: re: the word "violence" thrust

            Hahaha.

            That one guy/bot that points at itself in the mirror and sees four fingers pointing back at it.

            And its face still looks like an asscrack.

            Too funny.

            AC Chatbots have evolved to laugh in their own metaphorical faces about what ass-faces they are. WOW!

            You crack me up....

            Your cracked...

            Mirror mirror on the...asscrack? Naw....

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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