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5 in city police drug unit indicted for perjury


Five members of a Baltimore police drug enforcement unit who allegedly lied in search-warrant affidavits were indicted on perjury charges yesterday by a city grand jury.

The grand jury investigation resulted from a raid July 17 at a home in the 2800 block of Taney Road. The house belongs to a former hospital workers union chief, Ronald E. Hollie, who is married to a cousin of Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke's wife.

Police officials refused last night to identify the indicted drug investigators, but State's Attorney Stuart O. Simms confirmed that one of them was Officer Nicholas S. Constantine, who had been indicted in the case earlier.

The new indictments allege that the officers provided perjured testimony on six separate affidavits for search-and-seizure warrants in drug cases, said Agent Arlene K. Jenkins, a police spokeswoman.

Agent Jenkins said all the officers have been notified of the indictments and agreed to surrender at the state's attorney's office Tuesday. Arrest warrants will be formally served at that time, and none of the accused officers will be identified until then,she added.

The grand jury's earlier indictment accused Officer Constantine, an eight-year veteran assigned to the Northwestern District drug enforcement unit, of a single misdemeanor count of perjury for misstating a fact in an affidavit he wrote to obtain a warrant for the July raid.

In applying for the warrant, Officer Constantine swore under oath that he had already submitted to the police lab a package of suspected cocaine allegedly purchased at the home by an informant. In fact, the suspected drugs were submitted to the lab immediately after the raid, the police and city prosecutors said.

The mayor learned of the raid that evening from his wife, Dr. Patricia Schmoke, and called Mr. Hollie, according to City Hall spokesman Clinton R. Coleman. The following day, Mr. Schmoke asked Police Commissioner Edward V. Woods to look into the circumstances of the search, Mr. Coleman said. "I don't believe the mayor was pushing for anything but justice in the case," Mr. Coleman said last night when informed of the new indictments.

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