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.
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.
"I'm a have my phone open on the side and I'm a scroll down to your name so that way … I'll just hit the talk button," Stallings told Redd during the March 6 conversation.
At another point, Redd complains that he is losing customers, according to records. "I need some damn money. I ain't getting no phone calls, ain't no nothing, it ain't looking good," he said. "You start losing people if you keep, people gotta keep waiting, they go to somebody else."
Mamah was arrested on May 13 after getting into a foot chase with a city police detective assigned to the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force, records show. The detective, Brian Shutt, wrote in documents associated with that arrest that officers recovered 205 grams of suspected heroin from his vehicle, and documents unsealed Tuesday show another 400 to 500 grams was recovered from his home in the 8300 block of Church Lane.
Court records show Mamah is from Ghana. Last week the Drug Enforcement Administration announced that they had broken up a drug ring in which couriers smuggled heroin from Ghana into the United States through Dulles International Airport, which officials said highlighted West Africa as a "major hub for international drug trafficking."
A search warrant also names Redd as a supplier to other, unindicted men.
Redd joined the Baltimore Police Department in 1994, but was fired in 2002 after being found asleep on the job at the reservoir at Druid Hill Park, where he was supposed to be on anti-terrorist duty, The Sun reported in 2004. Redd sued and was rehired under a court order, and the city had to pay him $75,000 in back pay.
"This is not what taxpayers of Baltimore expect from police officers," the Police Department's then-legal counsel said after Redd and another officer were disciplined. "You have to send a message to troops that gross neglect of conduct will not be tolerated."
Garrett was convicted in 2008 of marijuana possession and in 2005 received two years supervised probation for drug distribution charges. Jones, Stallings and Zakaria did not appear to have a prior record.
Accusations against city police
Tuesday — A Baltimore police officer is charged with co-heading a heroin organization. Federal authorities, in detailed court papers, say that once the officer dealt drugs while in uniform in the parking lot of the Northwest District station.
February — Federal authorities arrest 17 city officers and two owners of a towing company as part of a what prosecutors described as scheme in which drivers of damaged or disabled cars were steered to a repair shop in exchange for kickbacks for police. Five police officers and the owners have pleaded guilty. Court documents implicate as many as 50 officers.
2006 — A sergeant and six plainclothes officers in the Southeastern District were accused of embellishing or making up cases to obtain arrest warrants. None of the officers were charged with crimes and it's unclear what, if anything, happened with the internal investigation.
2006 — Two Baltimore police detectives were sentenced to serve more than a century in prison apiece for shaking down drug dealers for money, and stealing cocaine and heroin for their informants. They argued that their tactics were widely used and endorsed as part of legitimate undercover work.
2005 — Police commanders disbanded the Southwestern District's "Flex Squad" after an officer was charged with raping a woman in the police station. Detectives reported finding drugs haphazardly kept in desk drawers and evidence that members had been planting contraband on suspects. Nothing ever came of the broader investigation into the squad.
Prosecutors: city officer dealt drugs from police station parking lot
Authorities charge Baltimore Police Officer Daniel Redd with running a suspected heroin organization with Tamim Mamah, also known as Abdul Zakaria. On March 31, at 9:55 a.m., the FBI says it intercepted this telephone conversation:
Mamah: Where you say you want me to meet you at?
Redd: At my building. Not down where, where I work, at but at the building. You know how you meet me on the lot?
Redd: No, not down, not down at Park Heights. Up at the building.
Mamah: Oh, okay, okay, okay, alright, okay
Redd: Up near the five mile, you know up there at my station.
FBI: "Subsequent law enforcement video surveillance observed Redd leaving the Northwest District Police Station, located at 5271 Reisterstown Road, while in full police uniform, retrieving something from his car, the 2004 Acura TL, and placing it in his jacket pocket. Redd was then observed walking to another part of the parking lot. ... I believe that Redd and Mamah met in the Baltimore City Northwest District Police Station parking lot so that Redd could give Mamah a quantity of heroin."
Source: Affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in BaltimoreCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun