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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Maryland

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Baltimore Police Officer Sentenced To 8 Years In Prison For Drug Dealing And Gun Charge Uncovered By Federal Wiretap

Corrupt Officer Protected Drug Dealer, Filed False Police Reports,
Planned Armed Robbery and Sold Stolen Property

Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett sentenced Baltimore Police officer Kendell Richburg, age 36, of Baltimore, today to eight years in prison, followed by four years of supervised release, for conspiracy to distribute heroin and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking. Judge Bennett ordered that as a special condition 10 months of his supervised release be served in home detention.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Commissioner Anthony W. Batts of the Baltimore Police Department.

According to his plea agreement, from June 2011 through October 2012, Richburg, who was assigned to the Violent Crimes Impact Section in the Northwestern District of the Baltimore Police Department, conspired with a street level drug trafficker to distribute heroin. Richburg’s co-conspirator was a registered confidential informant with the Baltimore Police Department. The co-conspirator sold drugs in the Pimlico area of Northwest Baltimore. Richburg provided information to the co-conspirator that permitted him to sell drugs without interference from law enforcement, telling the co-conspirator on a near daily basis when it was “safe” to go out to sell drugs. In return, the co-conspirator provided Richburg with information about his drug customers so that Richburg could arrest them. Richburg paid his co-conspirator with official Baltimore Police Department funds for providing the information that resulted in the arrest of the drug customers. Richburg sometimes gave the co-conspirator back some of the drugs seized from the co-conspirator’s customers so that the co-conspirator could re-sell the drugs. Richburg falsified the arrest documents to eliminate the co-conspirator’s involvement, often falsely stating that Richburg had witnessed a drug transaction.

In early 2012, the FBI received information that Richburg was trafficking in stolen property, including iPhones, iPads and other electronics, and obtained a wiretap of Richburg’s cellphone. Intercepted conversations confirmed that Richburg was trafficking in stolen property and led to the discovery of Richburg’s drug trafficking.

Richburg and the co-conspirator were also overheard discussing the “planting” of evidence, and arranging an armed robbery. For example, on September 2, 2012, Richburg and the co-conspirator discussed having the co-conspirator plant a gun in an unlicensed cab, then having Richburg pull over and arrest the cab driver on a gun violation and pay the co-conspirator $350 to $400 as an informant fee for recovering a firearm. On October 9, 2012, Richburg, armed with his service weapon, searched a person, without probable cause, and located a large amount of cash. The victim told Richburg that he had just received his paycheck. Richburg contacted his co-conspirator and arranged for the co-conspirator, whom Richburg knew was armed, to rob the victim, identifying where the victim was located.

Richburg has been detained since his arrest on January 18, 2013.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the FBI and Baltimore Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorneys A. David Copperthite and Peter M. Nothstein, who prosecuted the case.

Updated January 26, 2015