BALTIMORE – An indicted member of a disbanded Baltimore police unit allegedly duped a fellow officer into discovering packets of heroin he planted in a car during a 2010 arrest, authorities alleged in a new indictment announced Thursday.
Police Commissioner Kevin Davis identified the betrayed officer — dubbed “Officer No. 1” in the indictment — as Detective Sean Suiter, who was fatally shot in the head with his own gun two weeks ago while probing a triple homicide in a troubled West Baltimore neighborhood.
During a Thursday press conference, Davis told reporters that Suiter was “set up” by indicted former officer Wayne Earl Jenkins to discover narcotics planted by Jenkins. He said Suiter was “not involved in any way, shape or form” in the deception.
Speaking of Jenkins, Davis said: “This guy was able to operate with impunity on this police department for far too long.”
Jenkins, a former Baltimore police sergeant who is one of the indicted members of Baltimore’s disbanded Gun Trace Task Force, is one of eight Baltimore law enforcers being investigated by a federal grand jury.
The elite unit was tasked with getting illegal guns off the streets of Baltimore, but federal prosecutors say they used their position to threaten the innocent, detain people on false pretenses, steal their money, fake police reports, lie to investigators, and defraud their department.
If Thursday’s indictment is proven, Jenkins also tricked a fellow officer into discovering narcotics he planted himself.
A new five-count indictment announced Thursday alleges that Jenkins was driving an unmarked car with another officer dubbed “Officer No. 1,” who Davis confirmed was Suiter. He allegedly told a third officer he was going to send Officer No. 1 to search a suspect’s car because he was “clueless” that drugs had already been planted.
The indictment was announced by acting U.S. Attorney Stephen Schenning and FBI Special-Agent-In-Charge Gordon Johnson.
The 2010 arrest also followed a high-speed chase that resulted in the death of an elderly man. Jenkins was the driver of an unmarked police car and Suiter, then an officer, was his passenger. The man who was arrested, Umar Burley, was convicted and sentenced to 15 years as a result of the 2010 arrest.
Lawyers for Burley did not immediately respond to phone calls seeking comment.
As he has done repeatedly in recent days, Baltimore’s police commissioner stressed that Suiter was “never the target of an FBI investigation.”
Suiter’s Wednesday funeral drew thousands of mourners, including numerous law enforcement officials. Mayor Catherine Pugh said his unsolved killing “leaves a stain on our city,” while Gov. Larry Hogan said the detective “lived and died a hero.”