Supervisor of Baltimore Police Gun Trace Task Force Set to Plead Guilty

Wayne Jenkins

The former supervisor of the corrupt Baltimore Police Gun Trace Task Force is set to plead guilty on Friday, according to court records and his attorney.

Court records show former Sgt. Wayne Jenkins is scheduled for a rearraignment on that morning in U.S. District Court, and his attorney, Steve Levin, confirmed he will be entering a guilty plea.

Jenkins will become the sixth Baltimore officer charged in the federal racketeering case to plead guilty. He was one of three officers slated to go to trial on Jan. 22.

Levin declined to comment further, including specifying which counts Jenkins is pleading guilty to and whether he is cooperating with authorities.

Prosecutors allege Jenkins led a unit that robbed drug dealers and innocent civilians, and in some cases directed that drugs and guns seized by the unit be re-sold on the streets. Sometimes, prosecutors said, Jenkins pretended to be a federal agent to conceal his identity. His unit falsified court documents to cover its tracks — or didn’t file paperwork at all — and also raked in tens of thousands of dollars in unearned overtime pay from the city, according to the indictment.

Judge vacates conviction of man who feds say had drugs planted by Gun Trace Task Force officer
Jenkins was later hit with additional charges alleging that in 2010 he was involved with planting drugs on a suspect who had fled from police and crashed. Federal prosecutors say Det. Sean Suiter was duped into recovering the drugs from the scene. Suiter was killed in November, one day before he was set to testify before a federal grand jury investigating the claims.

The case may be the biggest corruption scandal to hit the Baltimore police department: Seven officers from a single high-profile unit were indicted in February and charged with racketeering conspiracy, the result of a wiretap investigation by federal authorities that also included placing recording devices in police vehicles. An eighth officer from the unit was indicted in August.

A former city officer who was working for police in Philadelphia also has been charged with participating in the conspiracy.

The alleged crimes took place during a federal civil rights review of the police department, and stretch back years to when some of the officers were in other units in different parts of the city. One of the officers who pleaded guilty had been promoted to a Drug Enforcement Administration task force.

The fallout from the indictments has included hundreds of dropped court cases that relied on the word of the officers, with the public defender’s office saying thousands of cases have been compromised. Notices for dozens of civil claims also have been filed with the city.

Jenkins previously had been under investigation in a 2014 case in which a man arrested by police said drugs were planted in his vehicle. Walter Price’s attorney said closed-circuit television footage cast doubt on the charging documents filed by Jenkins’ partner and approved by Jenkins, and a city prosecutor formally made a complaint with police internal affairs. Months later, Jenkins was investigated in a separate case for driving into a suspect who was fleeing on foot.

Police officials have largely refused to discuss their handling of the gun task force officers or answer questions about the officers’ pasts.

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