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Judge denies new hearing for Munoz

A federal judge has rejected claims by indicted Baltimore police officer Eduardo Munoz Jr. that prosecutors misrepresented evidence in the drug and gun case to keep him in jail.

Munoz, who has been jailed since his arrest in March, had sought a new detention hearing. In denying that request Thursday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Beth P. Gesner found that federal prosecutors had not overstated their case against the officer.

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With co-defendant Jose Raul Estala, Munoz is accused of conspiracy to distribute cocaine in an operation that police said sold between 2 kilograms and 3 kilograms a month from a Fells Point auto garage.

Federal authorities have alleged that Munoz and Estala, who is not a police officer, sold several ounces of cocaine and a .357-caliber gun to an informant this year. Prosecutors said that investigators captured the defendant on tape discussing drug deals and negotiating a price for the gun.

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Munoz's attorneys countered in court papers filed last week that the tapes revealed only "normal and innocent conversations." But Gesner said she found no grounds to reverse the earlier detention order of U.S. District Judge Marvin J. Garbis.

At a hearing in April, Garbis had noted the tapes in saying that he didn't have "any confidence at all that Mr. Munoz wouldn't present some danger to the community."

Munoz, who joined the Police Department in 2000, was suspended without pay after his arrest. He had worked most recently as a Spanish-speaking interpreter in the department's criminal intelligence unit, which keeps tabs on drug gang activity and investigates potential terrorism threats.


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