Baltimore’s infamous Gun Trace Task Force was facilitating drug trafficking across state lines, according to a newly unsealed federal indictment.

Officer Eric Troy Snell of the Philadelphia Police Department was arrested this morning at his house in Philadelphia, prosecutors say. He’s charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine.

Snell is accused working with former BPD Det. Jemell Rayam last fall to sell drugs that were stolen during an Oct. 3, 2016, car crash near Mondawmin Mall. According to Snell’s indictment, Rayam recovered more than nine ounces of cocaine that the driver tossed from the window before crashing in West Baltimore. His supervisor, Sgt. Wayne Jenkins, told him to sell most of the coke and give him a cut of the proceeds.

A little over two weeks later, Snell, tipped off about the plan, reached out to Rayam and asked him to bring him the drugs up to Philadelphia. The pair had longstanding ties: prosecutors say they were in training together for the Baltimore Police Department, where Snell served until March 2008.

(It’s unclear when Snell began working for the BPD, but Rayam began his tenure in 2005. Police chief spokesman T.J. Smith confirmed the timing of Snell’s departure, but hasn’t responded to a query about when he started with the BPD.)

Rayam drove to Philly on Oct. 20 and gave the cocaine to Snell, who arranged for his brother to sell it. The trio “discussed the sale of the cocaine, the price the cocaine should be sold for” and the cut that each of them would receive, the indictment says.

They weren’t done. Rayam came back three days later and dropped off an additional 80 grams of heroin that Jenkins gave him.

The turnaround was quick. Within the next three weeks, Snell deposited $3,500 into Rayam’s account in two separate trips to the bank, and handed him another few hundred dollars in cash. They also exchanged the rest of Jenkins’ heroin, meeting up at a travel stop in Delaware for Rayam to bring 40 unsold grams back to Maryland to distribute on his own.

Fast forward to June of 2017, and Rayam was sitting in a jail cell, one of seven BPD officers indicted on racketeering charges in the spring. (The eighth, Sgt. Thomas Allers, was indicted in August.) During a recorded phone call, Rayam asked Snell, “Your brother never said anything…everything cool, yo?”

Snell responded with an assurance, and advised his old training buddy to “say less” on the recorded call. He also told Rayam to “stand tall,” and said he would “keep an eye” on Rayam’s children. Prosecutors say Rayam viewed the latter remark as a threat to harm his family in case he tipped off investigators about Snell’s involvement.

Rayam is one of three officers who’ve pleaded guilty to participating in the racketeering ring. His cousin, David Kendall Rahim, pleaded guilty last week to robbery and one other charge for helping Rayam rob a Brooklyn couple of $20,000 in June 2014. Five men who collaborated with the BPD officers to sell drugs were also recently convicted of distributing heroin linked to overdoses in Harford County.

Snell appeared in court today in Baltimore. His detention hearing is set for Nov. 17 at 2:15 p.m.

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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...