Glen Kyle Wells supplied only a small fraction of the heroin sold by a Northeast Baltimore drug crew. But he contributed a powerful friend to protect the drug dealers: city police Detective Momodu Gondo.
A boyhood friend of Gondo, Wells, 32, was sentenced Thursday to 15 years in federal prison for his role in the million-dollar heroin ring.
“He brought his relationship with a police officer, former police officer Gondo, into this conspiracy,” U.S. District Judge Catherine Blake told the court, “then others in the conspiracy took advantage of it.”
The drug crew sold heroin with impunity under Gondo’s protection. The detective has admitted in court to running interference for the drug dealers, protecting them from honest officers who would arrest them and rogue officers who would rob them. Gondo admitted to helping one drug boss discard a GPS tracker planted by police.
The detective, who pleaded guilty in a related federal racketeering case, faces as much as 40 years in prison and awaits sentencing.
The trial testimony about Wells as a heroin dealer contrasted sharply with the image presented by his family. They wrote to the judge that Wells was a devoted father who cared for his ailing mother. An accomplished high school athlete, Wells coached neighborhood children. His attorney, Marshall Henslee, said Wells strayed into crime but was also a family man.
“You have people who sort of had one foot in, one foot out,” Henslee told the judge.
A long-running investigation into the heroin ring helped uncover the crooked cop, then exposed a rogue squad within the Baltimore Police Department. Seven other officers face decades in prison for robbing drug dealers and cheating on their overtime pay.
Investigators say the drug crew emerged as the single largest supplier of heroin to suburban Baltimore and Harford counties. In October, a jury convicted five men in the crew of conspiracy to sell heroin.
Antonio “Brill” Shropshire was sentenced to 25 years. Alexander “Munch” Campbell was sentenced to 15 years. Omari “Lil’ Brill” Thomas was sentenced to six years. One man awaits sentencing in March: Antoine “Twan” Washington.
All were convicted after a 10-day trial that highlighted the scourge of heroin addiction. Fourteen witnesses testified to buying heroin from the men. A widow who cleaned houses broke down in court, telling how she spent her husband’s death payments on heroin. A gymnast explained how she turned to heroin after taking pain pills for an injury. Investigators say more than 60 people overdosed and 15 of them died from heroin tracing back to the drug dealers who operated around The Alameda.
Police detective Jemell Rayam testified to robbing a rival drug dealer alongside Wells. Rayam said the men made off with a package of heroin worth nearly $100,000 while Gondo waited in the car. Rayam pleaded guilty and faces 20 years in prison and awaits sentencing.
Wells was disappointed by the guilty verdict four months ago and will appeal, Henslee said.