A federal grand jury indicted a Baltimore police officer Friday on charges that he was involved in a conspiracy to distribute heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine and marijuana.
In an indictment unsealed Friday, federal prosecutors allege that Kendell L. Richburg, 36, took part in a drug scheme between January 2011 and October 2012. He is further accused of having and using two handguns to further the conspiracy.
"Corrupt police officers insult the many honorable officers who serve with integrity," U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said in a statement. "Any officers who may be tempted to abuse their authority should be on notice that we have the power and obligation to hold them accountable."
Richburg appeared in court Friday and is being detained until a court hearing Tuesday, according to prosecutors. He was represented at the hearing by a public defender, who could not be reached. Nobody answered the door at a listed address.
A 13-year veteran of the department, Richburg was hired in January 2000, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said. He was assigned to the Northwestern District's special enforcement section, which focuses on violent crimes.
Baltimore police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts called the charges "deeply disturbing" and said the Police Department's internal affairs division worked on the investigation.
"Our promise to the people of Baltimore is that we will continue to work diligently to ensure every member of this Baltimore Police Department deserves the respect and trust of our community," he added.
Richburg was suspended from duty in November amid an FBI investigation, but the department did not then make his identity public.
Addressing a number of police misconduct allegations at the time, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said prompt suspensions were appropriate.
"The officers put their lives on the line every single day and deserve to work alongside officers with integrity," she said.
Richburg faced Baltimore County arson threat and assault charges in 2003, which were ultimately dropped, online court records show. His attorney in that case was Warren A. Brown, who said he could not recall the circumstances of the case.
Court records also show that Richburg was a defendant in a federal civil suit filed in 2010. The complaint alleged that an officer had struck a man named Samuel Horne Jr. in the nose during a car stop, "causing a severe flow of blood." The case was settled in 2011.
Nobody answered the door at a listed address for Richburg.
Horne's attorney, John H. Morris Jr., said the settlement payout was relatively small and that it appeared that another officer, not Richburg, had been the one to strike his client.
Baltimore Sun reporter Alison Knezevich contributed to this article.
twitter.com/iduncanCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun