School officer pleads guilty to federal drug charges

A 31-year-old man who was employed as a police officer in Baltimore schools has pleaded guilty to federal drug charges. The man, who has served on the force for four years, will spend at least five years in prison for the alleged drug crimes, according to news reports. The man pleaded guilty to drug possession with intent to distribute both crack cocaine and cocaine base.

Investigators say that the man admitted to purchasing large amounts of cocaine from suppliers, selling at least 150 grams of the drug to a police informant. That confidential source had been working with police officers, purchasing drugs from the defendant on four separate occasions between 2012 and 2013. Authorities do not believe that the man was working with a network of other dealers. Although information about his plea was just released to the public, the agreement was actually drafted several months ago.

The defendant has stepped down from his position as a school officer, according to district representatives. He had been working with the Baltimore City schools since February 2009. Now, the man is simply waiting to be sentenced; his hearing is slated to occur on Oct. 15.

The defendant in this case chose to pursue a plea deal, which may reduce the length of a potential prison term when compared with the possible outcome from a jury trial. The choice to proceed with a jury trial or plea agreement should not be taken lightly. Criminal defendants should carefully consider whether their case lends itself to a jury trial; if not, a guilty plea might be a good option. Criminal defense attorneys can advise their clients about entering a plea and continuing with the rest of the legal process.

Source: Source: The Baltimore Sun, “City schools officer pleads guilty to federal drug-dealing charge,” Justin Fenton, July 7, 2014