Former Philadelphia Police Officer Pleads Guilty to Conspiring With Former Baltimore Police GTTF Detective to Distribute Heroin and Other Narcotics
Entered His Guilty Plea After Three Days of Trial
Baltimore, Maryland –Former Philadelphia Police officer Eric Troy Snell, age 34, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine. Snell admitted that he conspired with former Baltimore Police Gun Trace Task Force (GTTF) Detective Jemell Rayam and others to sell heroin and cocaine seized by GTTF members. Snell pleaded guilty on the fourth day of his trial, which began on October 29, 2018.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur and Special Agent in Charge Gordon B. Johnson of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office.
“The community needs to know that when we have evidence of wrongdoing, we will follow that evidence and prosecute you--whether you wear a badge or not,” said Maryland U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur. “Prosecuting law enforcement officers is painful, but necessary if we are to restore the public’s trust in our justice system. No one is above the law.”
“Law enforcement officers are given incredible power to enforce the law and ensure justice. Thwarting abuse of this authority is necessary to protect the rights of our citizens and uphold confidence in law enforcement. Anyone who takes advantage of their position for personal gain or in persistence of criminal misconduct must and will be held accountable,” said Special Agent in Charge Gordon B. Johnson of the FBI Baltimore Field Office.
According to court documents and statements at his plea hearing today, Snell is a former Baltimore Police Department (BPD) Officer, who received his training at the Baltimore Police Academy with Jemell Rayam, a former Detective with the BPD Gun Trace Task Force. Snell left the BPD in March 2008, and became an officer in the Philadelphia Police Department on September 29, 2014.
Snell admitted that from at least October 2016 through June 26, 2017, he conspired with Rayam and others to sell heroin and cocaine seized by members of the BPD in Maryland. On October 3, 2016, GTTF Sergeant Wayne Jenkins, Rayam, and other detectives, engaged in a high-speed police chase of G.H. G.H. threw nine ounces of cocaine out of the window of his vehicle before crashing near Mondawmin Mall in Baltimore. The BPD officers retrieved the cocaine and Jenkins told Rayam to sell most of the cocaine and give Jenkins the proceeds of the sale, which Rayam agreed to do.
On October 18, 2016, after learning about the cocaine from Rayam, Snell asked Rayam to give him the cocaine that was stolen from G.H. and not submitted as evidence to BPD. Rayam agreed and on October 20, 2016, traveled to Philadelphia to meet Snell at his residence. Ryam provided the cocaine to Snell, who made arrangements to meet with Snell’s brother, who would sell the cocaine for Snell and Rayam. Later that day. Snell, Rayam, and Snell’s brother met and discussed: the sale of the cocaine; the price the cocaine should be sold for; the amount of money that Snell’s brother would pay Snell after the sale of the cocaine; and the amount of money that Snell would pay Rayam after the sale of the cocaine. On October 23, 2018, Rayam and Snell agreed that Rayam would provide Snell with heroin for Snell to sell and distribute.
Snell admitted that he communicated with Rayam on October 27, 2016, to advised that Snell had received “2K” ($2,000) from the sale of illegal drugs and subsequently deposited $1,000 into Rayam’s bank account. Snell met Rayam several other times to coordinate the drug trafficking and exchange drugs and cash. Snell admitted that he paid Rayam on subsequent occasions for drug proceeds, including making a $2,500 deposit into Rayam’s bank account.
Following Rayam’s arrest on June 26, 2017, Snell spoke with Rayam on the recorded phone system in place at the jail where Rayam was detained. Snell instructed Rayam to “say less” on the recorded jail phones so that law enforcement would not detect their illegal drug trafficking.
On November 14, 2017, Snell was arrested and transported to Baltimore for his initial appearance. During the transport, Snell admitted that he lied to FBI agents when he told them that the payments he made to Rayam were for the repayment of a gambling debt, when in fact, the payments were for drugs he received from Rayam.
During a search of Snell’s residence on November 14, 2017, law enforcement recovered a box in which Snell stored items containing cocaine residue, next to a package of razor blades that were used to cut and process narcotics for distribution, as well as .40-caliber and 9 mm handgun ammunition. From the master bedroom, law enforcement recovered Snell’s Philadelphia Police Department service weapon, a 9 mm handgun, as well as a 40-caliber handgun, and two unregistered short-barrel assault rifles.
Snell admits that the amount of narcotics reasonably foreseeable to him in furtherance of the conspiracy is the equivalent of at least 100 kilograms of marijuana.
Snell faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. United States District Judge Catherine C. Blake has scheduled sentencing for January 30, 2019, at 2:15 p.m.
Jemell Lamar Rayam, age 38, of Owings Mills, Maryland, previously pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering conspiracy including multiple robberies, and overtime fraud, and is awaiting sentencing.
United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the FBI for its work in the investigation. Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Derek E. Hines and Leo J. Wise, who prosecuted these Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force cases.
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