Baltimore, Maryland - Baltimore Police officer Kendell Richburg, age 36, of Baltimore, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to distribute heroin and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.
The guilty plea 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.
“Kendell Richburg’s treacherous conduct harms all police officers,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “He helped a drug dealer avoid arrest while planning an armed robbery and filing false police reports about other suspects.”
“Kendell Richburg's unacceptable criminal actions are an affront to the law enforcement profession and the hard working men and women of the Baltimore Police Department,” said Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts. “Today's plea agreement is a victory for the citizens of Baltimore and a representation of this agency's unwavering commitment to accountability and the delivery of justice.”
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 drug purchasers 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. 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 faces a minimum mandatory sentence of five years in prison and a maximum of 40 years in prison for the drug conspiracy, and a minimum mandatory sentence of five years in prison, consecutive to any other sentence, and a maximum of life in prison for use of a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime. U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett scheduled sentencing for June 11, 2013, at 3:00 p.m. Richburg remains detained.
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 are prosecuting the case.