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More fallout from Gun Trace Task Force scandal: Another Baltimore police officer pleads guilty to federal crimes

Veteran Baltimore police officer Victor Rivera admitted in federal court Wednesday to seizing cocaine from a West Baltimore drug dealer and selling three kilograms of those drugs to one of his confidential informants for $20,000.

The misconduct happened more than a decade ago, but federal prosecutors charged him with lying about it in an FBI interview last year. In a video conference hearing Wednesday, Rivera, 49, pleaded guilty to one count of lying to federal investigators. With his guilty plea, he admitted to taking and selling the cocaine.

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Rivera addressed U.S. District Judge Catherine Blake briefly, telling her he wanted to accept responsibility and “make this right.”

He faces a decade in federal prison and has not yet been scheduled for sentencing. After 26 years with the Baltimore Police, Rivera retired last March.

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He’s the 15th officer charged in the sweeping Gun Trace Task Force scandal. Members of the rogue guns squad were sentenced to federal prison for racketeering crimes including robbing citizens, lying on police reports, falsifying probable cause and stealing drugs. They are serving prison terms of seven to 25 years.

Rivera served on a squad with at least one member of the Gun Trace Task Force. Federal prosecutors called him in for questioning last November.

According to court records, an FBI task force officer asked him about the record-setting seizure of 41 kilograms of cocaine in 2009. Officers had been watching the home of a big time West Baltimore drug dealer and found the cocaine in a pickup truck parked nearby.

“We have reason to believe that drugs were taken from that incident, okay?” the FBI officer told him. “There was some drugs that was taken, um, that was not submitted, and that was subsequently pushed out and resold. That’s the information that we have ... point blank, I mean, do you know anything about that?”

“No,” Rivera answered.

“You don’t know anything about that?”

“No,” he repeated.

The questions continued, according to a transcript of the interview included in court filings. Rivera denied during the interview any knowledge of drugs taken or resold.

Rivera was implicated in March when prosecutors charged another officer with lying about the drug bust. In those charging documents, prosecutors identified him as “V.R.,” writing that he sold the cocaine to one of his informants and split the money with detectives Ivo Louvado and Keith Gladstone.

Louvado was charged with lying to the FBI in March. His trial has not yet been scheduled.

Gladstone pleaded guilty in early 2019 with planting a BB gun in 2014 to justify another officer running down a man with his vehicle. Gladstone has not yet been sentenced.

Baltimore Sun reporter Justin Fenton contributed to this article.

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