Bail bondsman pleads guilty, admits to helping Baltimore gun task force officer resell drugs

When disgraced Baltimore Police Gun Trace Task Force Sgt. Wayne Jenkins pleaded guilty to racketeering and other counts earlier this month, his plea agreement contained a slew of new allegations involving an associate identified only by his initials: “D.S.”

In the plea, Jenkins admitted that he had stolen large amounts of cocaine, heroin and marijuana in the course of his day job taking drugs off the street, and turned to “D.S” to sell them back onto the streets. They split the profits, totaling as much as $500,000.

“D.S.” was revealed Friday afternoon to be Donald Stepp, a 51-year-old bail bondsman from Baltimore County. Stepp, arrested in December after a county drug investigation led to a raid on his waterfront home, pleaded guilty to his role aiding Jenkins and dealing drugs.

Stepp’s plea says the scheme took place between 2015 and 2017, and it revealed that Jenkins brought him to search locations in Baltimore City, Baltimore County “and elsewhere,” with Jenkins falsely telling other law enforcement agencies that Stepp was a city officer. Stepp is the third civilian defendant to plead guilty to helping the officers facilitate their crimes.

Jenkins led the city police Gun Trace Task Force, whose members are accused of robbing citizens, falsifying court paperwork, stealing and reselling drugs and committing burglaries and home invasions. Six officers have pleaded guilty to their roles.

Stepp faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and a mandatory minimum of 10 years, though he could serve less time in exchange for his cooperation. Stepp’s plea says proceeds of his drug sales went to officers including Detective Daniel Hersl, who is set to challenge charges against him at a trial beginning Jan. 22.

It is not clear how Stepp and Jenkins became acquainted, but both men lived in eastern Baltimore County. According to Stepp’s plea, Jenkins would bring drugs to Stepp’s home after committing robberies, or leave drugs in Stepp’s toolshed.

Stepp’s arrest was apparently the result of an unrelated investigation by Baltimore County authorities into his drug-dealing. He was indicted in December following a raid on his home in Middle River during which crack, cocaine, and heroin were recovered by police.

Baltimore County police wrote in charging documents filed last month that they received a tip in July 2017 that a “Donnie Stepp” who owned Double-D Bail Bonds was selling cocaine.

County officers established surveillance and saw people coming and going from Stepp’s home. They followed one such car and pulled over a woman. The officers looked in her car windows and saw what appeared to be materials used to smoke crack. The police said she allowed them to search her car, and she was seen trying to stuff something from her purse into her pants, police wrote in charging documents.

In an interview, the woman said she had bought the cocaine in “Donnie Stepp’s driveway,” according to the charging documents.

Police raided Stepp’s home just after midnight Dec. 14 and found drugs, scales, packaging materials and other items. Also located in a desk drawer: federal indictment paperwork for Jenkins and two of his co-defendant officers.

Stepp was charged with nine drug-related counts in Baltimore County District Court and released the same day on $100,000 bail.

Federal charges against Stepp were unsealed earlier this week, showing that Stepp was swiftly indicted by a grand jury on drug charges the day he was arrested. Federal charges are rarely filed so quickly.

Stepp’s bail-bonds company caused a stir in 2013 when it opened in downtown Towson, with a prominently displayed logo of a well-endowed female figure with a "D" written over each breast. Records show the business later relocated to Essex.

Stepp is not the first non-police officer implicated in assisting the Gun Trace Task Force. Earlier, two men, David Rahim and Thomas Finnegan, pleaded guilty to helping Detective Jemell Rayam carry out a home invasion against South Baltimore business owners who Rayam had learned were in possession of a large amount of cash.

The son of Sgt. Thomas Allers, who has pleaded guilty, also took part in a raid where money was taken, according to the indictment against Allers. The son has not been charged.

Prosecutors also say Rayam conspired to sell heroin with a former city officer who left Baltimore and became a Philadelphia police officer.

Stepp will be sentenced in April.

jfenton@baltsun.com

twitter.com/justin_fenton

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