Det. Momodu Bondo. Photo via Baltimore Police Department.

Det. Momodu Gondo, a.k.a. “G Money,” had his day in court and will be spending some time in prison.

A member of the Baltimore Police Department’s since-disbanded Gun Trace Task Force, Gondo was indicted in March for his role in a racketeering ring in which he and other plainclothes officers robbed suspects and civilians, sold drugs and guns and falsified hours for years. Yesterday, Gondo pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of racketeering and conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin.

Prosecutors say Gondo, a 12-year veteran of the department, committed at least eight robberies from March 2015 through July 2016 with fellow task force members and associates.

In one case in October 2015, he and Det. Jamell Rayam (who pleaded guilty on Wednesday) put a non-court-approved tracking device on a drug dealer’s car. Gondo then acted as a lookout while Rayam and an associate went into the man’s apartment when they knew he wouldn’t be home and stole between $12,000 and $14,000, a Rolex, a gun and more than 800 grams of heroin. Gondo helped sell some of the drugs and took a cut of the stolen cash and other proceeds.

In another case in July 2016, he, Rayam and their colleague Det. Daniel Hersl stopped a couple, stole money from them and brought them to a police facility for interrogation, under orders from supervisor Sgt. Wayne Jenkins, who was impersonating a federal prosecutor. Jenkins pressured the couple into giving them more. He, Gondo, Hersl and Rayam then brought them to their house and stole $20,000, splitting it four ways.

On the drug-dealing front, Gondo was involved in a North Baltimore trafficking operation in the Alameda Shopping Center that mostly involved heroin. He helped five co-conspirators from the Shropshire organization by providing protection and tips to help them avoid arrest, according to a plea agreement. In one example from March 2016, he told Antonio Shropshire the DEA had put a bug on his car; Shropshire then transferred it to another car under Gondo’s advice, according to prosecutors.

The Shropshire group has been indicted separately. Gondo was named as one of the co-conspirators. Authorities said the heroin they sold was linked to more than 60 overdoses in Baltimore and Harford counties, many of them fatal.

Gondo faces a five-year mandatory minimum sentence and up to 40 years in prison due to his heroin distribution conspiracy conviction.

For what it’s worth, WBAL-TV’s Jayne Miller reported yesterday that Gondo’s lawyer, Warren Brown, maintains his client did it because he was underpaid. “They are paid like crap, quite frankly,” Brown said outside the courthouse downtown. “We put them in positions where they are out there chasing bad guys — bad guys have all the money — yeah, sometimes they are going to snatch a stack or two.”

City salary records show Gondo made $71,412 last year, plus another $29,000 in overtime. As the saying goes, “paid like crap” is in the eye of the beholder.

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Ethan McLeod

Ethan McLeod is a freelance reporter in Baltimore. He previously worked as an editor for the Baltimore Business Journal and Baltimore Fishbowl. His work has appeared in Bloomberg CityLab, Next City and...