Sunday, August 09, 2009

D.C. Area Officers Subject of FBI Probe

Did Police Take Money to Protect Gambling Ring?
By Aaron C. Davis
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, July 19, 2009

Federal authorities are investigating whether a group of Washington area police officers took money to protect a high-stakes gambling ring frequented by some of the region's most powerful drug dealers over the past two years, according to internal police documents and law enforcement sources.

The officers include five veterans in Prince George's County, a District police official and a former D.C. Housing Authority officer. Two under investigation have been spotted on police surveillance outside gambling sites, including one providing security in tactical gear. Witnesses have alleged that others wore police uniforms and drove marked cruisers to gatherings. One was arrested in a police raid outside a game with a handgun.

Phone records, surveillance and other evidence tie most of the officers directly to the game's operators, which include known drug dealers, documents show. Authorities have not moved against most of the officers or known operators of the game, in part because they continue to investigate whether any of the officers are linked to several slayings connected to the ring, according to documents and sources. It is unclear how much money the officers might have taken to provide the protection and whether the investigation will lead to charges.

Like other major police departments, Prince George's routinely investigates its officers, sometimes in coordination with federal authorities. But the breadth and depth of this investigation are rare. It involves more officers than any in recent years and a potentially flagrant abuse of police power. The corruption probe has also gone on longer than any that has come to light since a sting operation nearly two decades ago related to the case of notorious drug dealer Rayful Edmond III culminated in the indictment of 12 District police officers...