The last former Baltimore Police Gun Trace Task Force detective to be sentenced is asking for a term of just three years in prison when a judge hands down his punishment at a hearing scheduled for later this month.
Federal prosecutors have said they will seek 12 years for former Detective Jemell Rayam, who pleaded guilty to racketeering charges and cooperated with the government to map out the corrupt gun unit’s crimes. Rayam admitted to robberies dating back eight years prior to his arrest, as well as an armed home invasion and facilitating drug sales.
Rayam’s attorney, Dennis Boyle, filed a sentencing memorandum in which he said Rayam “deeply regrets his conduct and is profoundly ashamed” and that his punishment should be “mitigated by his demonstrated remorse and efforts to correct what he has done.”
“Imposing a lengthy prison sentence on this record will create cynicism and deter others from accepting responsibility in the way Mr. Rayam has,” Boyle wrote. “Mr. Rayam’s exemplary life shows conclusively that this was an error that will not be repeated.”
The shortest sentence received by any of the eight officers convicted in the case has been seven years, which were the terms imposed on former detectives Maurice Ward and Evodio Hendrix, both of whom cooperated extensively with prosecutors. Former Sgt. Wayne Jenkins received the longest sentence: 25 years.
A federal wiretap on the phone of Rayam’s longtime partner, Momodu Gondo, helped bring down the squad, whose members were found to be robbing people, lying about facts in sworn paperwork and committing illegal searches.
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Among his crimes, Rayam admitted to using a commercial GPS device to track a man’s movements and breaking into his home while he was away; the man’s girlfriend was still inside, and was robbed at gunpoint.
Rayam told authorities of another home invasion in which he enlisted two friends who were not police officers to break into a home where Rayam knew there was cash, and helped them bring down a Philadelphia police officer to whom he provided seized drugs for sale there.
Rayam is a Newark, N.J., native whose father was a police officer and mother was a teacher; his siblings are all educators.
In a letter to Judge Catherine C. Blake, Rayam’s now ex-wife said that in 2008 he left Baltimore for a better-paying job with the New York State Police. He returned to Baltimore after two weeks. His first admitted crime was the following year.
She said Rayam talked about wanting to get out of the police department around 2015.
“Throughout 2015 and 2016, Jemell would express that he needs help and voicing his deep desire to ‘get out of THERE and just be a teacher,’” she wrote. “My father still reminds me to this day of how throughout those same years, Jemell would always drop the kids off to him while expressing his exhaustion working with certain individuals and the longing to leave the department and pursue his preferred career in teaching.”
Rayam will be sentenced on May 28.