A Baltimore police officer who resigned from the force in June was being investigated for alleged drug trafficking, with the FBI obtaining a tracking warrant for her phone after receiving detailed allegations from a confidential source, records show.
The officer, Catherine M. Filippou, has not been charged and declined to comment when reached by phone Friday night. The FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to comment.
A newly unsealed affidavit obtained by The Baltimore Sun shows the FBI public corruption task force — which was investigating the Gun Trace Task Force — obtained a warrant to track three phones in January 2017. The name of the target of the warrant is redacted — but the affidavit contains other information that reveals it to be Filippou.
The FBI said a cooperating informant told them that Filippou, 29, was using her position as an officer to help “facilitate the sale and transportation” of drugs, driving the vehicle used to transport drugs from a stash house to its destination. If pulled over, the source alleged, Filippou would flash her badge and wave off the officer.
The source recorded a conversation with a drug dealer, in which he said Filippou was “doing this for big money” and had major connections in the drug trade.
It is not clear what became of the investigation. But Filippou is at least the fourth officer to resign from the Baltimore city or county force without facing charges after being implicated in the FBI public corruption task force’s investigations.
Former city officer Michael Woodlon and a second officer who has not been identified resigned from the Baltimore County police force after being identified as allegedly having taken part in crimes. And it was revealed last month that a city officer, Ayesha Hood, who exchanged text messages that appeared to discuss drug dealing with convicted Gun Trace Task Force Det. Jemell Rayam, had resigned as well.
In Filippou’s case, the source told the FBI that he or she had been told by the drug dealer that he was planning a trip with Filippou to Philadelphia to pick up 35 pounds of marijuana to transport back to Baltimore. The source said the dealer claimed that a year earlier, while driving back from a club and on their way to conduct the sale of a half-pound of marijuana, they were stopped by police in Essex.
The officer “immediately displayed her badge and identification and told the officer she was a police officer,” the affidavit says. “The police officer said, ‘Have a good night!’ and let them go without further investigation.”
The redacted affidavit includes revealing information about the officer’s identity: It says she lived in Parkville, was hired by the Police Department on July 19, 2010, was assigned to the Northwestern District, and had filed a workers compensation claim on July 12, 2016. Filippou matches all those details.
The affidavit says the source wore a recording device during one conversation with the drug dealer, who said the officer “was doing this for big money and does runs for several connects in Bmore. Not just weed, but heroin as well, a few times coke.”
He said Filippou was “making serious paper and has major ties into a lot of plugs,” meaning she was making a lot of money and had deep ties with drug dealers.
Filippou made headlines in 2015 when she was among four officers involved in the shooting of Keith Davis Jr., a case that has generated considerable attention with his supporters saying he was subsequently framed in the shooting death of a Pimlico Race Course security guard. Davis was convicted at trial, but the conviction was overturned, and he is now awaiting a fourth trial on the charges scheduled for April.
Melba Saunders, a spokeswoman for the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office, said city prosecutors “had no prior knowledge of the allegations or investigation” of Filippou.
Asked if the allegations could affect Davis’ case, she said: “To the extent that information from the federal GTTF investigation is brought to our attention, we are committed to investigating its potential impact on all of our cases.”
The Civilian Review Board recommended that Filippou and the other officers involved in the shooting and arrest of Davis be fired, making their decision public and sparking a dispute with City Solicitor Andre Davis over the release of police disciplinary information.
Filippou also was featured by the Police Department in a “Hispanic Heritage Week” feature, where she described being the half-Greek, half-Dominican daughter of immigrants and encouraging the city’s Latino community to trust and work with police.
In her last full year with the department, she was paid a salary of $71,000 and earned $106,000, records show.