Pubdate: Tue, 14 Nov 2017
Source: Philadelphia Daily News (PA)
Copyright: 2017 Philadelphia Newspapers Inc.
Author: Jeremy Roebuck


Federal agents arrested a Philadelphia police officer Tuesday,
accusing him of conspiring with officers in Baltimore to sell cocaine
and heroin seized from that city's streets.

Prosecutors say that Eric Troy Snell, 33, earned thousands of dollars
serving as a conduit between corrupt members of a Baltimore police
task force who stole the drugs and his brother, who sold them in

Investigators also have accused Snell of threatening the children of a
Baltimore officer who pleaded guilty in the case.

His arrest is the latest in a widening police corruption scandal that
has rocked Maryland's largest city, resulting in the arrests of eight
members of an elite gun task force there who prosecutors have accused
of robbing and extorting drug dealers for years.

A Philadelphia police spokesman said that Snell - a three-year veteran
of the force who had been assigned to the department's 35th District
in Northwest Philadelphia - would be suspended for 30 days with intent
to dismiss.

Snell began his police career in Baltimore before arriving in
Philadelphia in 2014. It was at the police academy in Maryland that he
met Jemell Rayam, a fellow officer and his primary contact with the
Baltimore Gun Trace Task Force.

The squad had been deployed to crack down on the proliferation of
illegal guns in that city. But prosecutors now say that Rayam and
several cohorts, including two commanding sergeants, used their
positions to rob drug dealers and pocket hundreds of thousands of
dollars uncovered while searching homes and cars of suspected criminals.

According to Snell's indictment, the Philadelphia officer set up an
October 2016 meeting between his brother, who is not named in court
filings, and Rayam to arrange for the sale of cocaine seized by the
task force.

After Snell's brother sold the drugs, the officer allegedly deposited
$1,000 in proceeds in Rayam's bank account, keeping $1,000 for
himself. Several similar transactions followed over the next two
months, the indictment alleges.

Rayam, arrested along with six other officers in March, pleaded guilty
to one count of racketeering conspiracy last month.

But in recorded jailhouse phone conversations referenced in court
filings, Snell allegedly pressured Rayam to keep his name out of the
ongoing investigation.

"Snell told Rayam to 'stand tall' and said he would 'keep an eye' on
Rayam's kids, which Rayam perceived as a threat to harm Rayam's
children if Rayam told authorities about Snell's illegal drug
trafficking," the indictment says.

Snell made his initial appearance Tuesday in federal court in
Baltimore on drug conspiracy charges. It was not immediately clear
whether he had retained a lawyer.
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