How a Philadelphia cop fits in to the Baltimore Police Gun Trace Task Force scandal

A former Philadelphia police officer heads to court this week for charges he collaborated with members of Baltimore’s Gun Trace Task Force.

Eric Snell, who worked for the Baltimore Police Department before he moved to Philadelphia, is accused of selling drugs in Philadelphia that had been confiscated by officers in the Gun Trace Task Force from the streets of Baltimore.


Snell had been fired from the Philadelphia Police Department, unlike his counterparts in Baltimore, who remained on the force before news of the scandal broke.

Cooperating officers in the Gun Trace Task Force case, one of the largest scandals in Baltimore’s history, have admitted to lying on court paperwork and stealing large amounts of drugs and money, among other transgressions. For example, in one instance in 2016, officers confiscated half a kilogram of cocaine after chasing a man near Mondawmin Mall. They turned in just a small amount of the confiscated drugs, and sold the rest to Snell, according to the indictment.


Eight officers in the Gun Trace Task Force have been convicted; six have been sentenced to prison terms ranging from seven to 25 years.

With the charges against Snell, the tentacles of Baltimore’s Gun Trace Task Force corruption scandal extend northward.

But the scandal has already had far-reaching implications in the region. Prosecutors are reviewing more than 1,000 cases involving the convicted officers and have overturned more than 175 convictions.

Civil liability from lawsuits brought against the city “is immeasurable,” said State Sen. Bill Ferguson, a Baltimore Democrat.

City officials, namely solicitor Andre Davis, have sought to limit taxpayers’ liability, arguing that the Gun Trace Task Force officers were acting outside the scope of their employment and should be exempt from rules requiring the city to pay out judgments when officers are sued.