Hermann, Peter 1/1/1997 - 31/12/2017
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1 US DC: Difficulties Testing Synthetic Drugs Are Slowing CriminalFri, 10 Jul 2015
Source:Washington Post (DC) Author:Hermann, Peter Area:District of Columbia Lines:129 Added:07/15/2015

The difficulty in testing synthetic drugs is slowing the prosecution of suspects accused of possessing or selling the chemically engineered substances, even as authorities blame them for a spike in violence and overdoses, according to District officials.

Prosecutors with the U.S. attorney's office have been unable to charge a number of people recently arrested, and many of them have had to be released while officials await test results, city and federal officials said. Police said they hope to charge them once testing is completed.

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2 US DC: FBI Drug Agent Risked All To Feed Heroin HabitMon, 29 Jun 2015
Source:Washington Post (DC) Author:Hermann, Peter Area:District of Columbia Lines:309 Added:06/30/2015

He Was Stealing Seized Evidence Even As Agency Was Hailing His Work

"How do you tell someone you've idolized your entire life that you're a heroin addict?" Matthew Lowry, who kept his addiction hidden from his father and others

Matthew Lowry was out of pills and getting desperate.

The doctor who prescribed pain medication to ease his chronic and painful inflammation of the intestines had disappeared. He went to clinics, but his wife had begun questioning the bills. He was shaking, sweating, tired.

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3 US DC: Released From Custody? Police Will Return Pot.Thu, 05 Mar 2015
Source:Washington Post (DC) Author:Hermann, Peter Area:District of Columbia Lines:71 Added:03/05/2015

Here's the reality of the District's new law on legalized pot: Get busted while also holding two ounces of marijuana or less, and D.C. police will give it back to you.

It happened this week at the 6th District police station in Northeast Washington. A man who had been arrested returned for the things that police take before they cart you off to jail. Among this man's possessions happened to be a small amount of marijuana - which police now view as property to store rather than contraband to seize.

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4 US DC: FBI Files Tell How Agent Was Able To Get The DrugsFri, 16 Jan 2015
Source:Washington Post (DC) Author:Hermann, Peter Area:District of Columbia Lines:246 Added:01/16/2015

FBI agent Matthew Lowry checked out Item 1B4 from the evidence room at the bureau's Washington field office on an August morning in 2013. He wrote "to lab" on a log sheet to explain why he was taking drugs that had been seized in an undercover operation dubbed Midnight Hustle.

But it was nearly a year later when he delivered the drug package to the lab. For 10 months, court records show, the heroin had gone unaccounted for and unmissed. When the package made it back to the FBI office in September, it weighed 1.1 grams more than when it had been seized.

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5 US DC: Fbi Agent Suspected Of Evidence TamperingThu, 06 Nov 2014
Source:Washington Post (DC) Author:Hermann, Peter Area:District of Columbia Lines:119 Added:11/06/2014

28 Drug Indictments to Be Dismissed in Light of Probe

Federal prosecutors said Wednesday they will dismiss indictments against 28 defendants in District drug cases amid an investigation of an FBI agent accused of tampering with evidence, including narcotics and guns, according to newly unsealed court documents.

Fourteen of those defendants have already pleaded guilty and were serving sentences - one was a year into a 10-year term - and prosecutors said they can withdraw their guilty pleas and the charges would be dropped. A hearing is scheduled Friday in U.S. District Court for many of the defendants. The stunning action by the U.S. attorney's office came as authorities continue to scrutinize cases that the agent, assigned to a D.C. police task force in the FBI's Washington field office, may have been involved with. The agent, who has not been charged criminally, has been suspended in what officials describe as a misconduct investigation.

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6 US DC: Pot Suspects' Arrests Have Bad TimingFri, 18 Jul 2014
Source:Washington Post (DC) Author:Hermann, Peter Area:District of Columbia Lines:133 Added:07/19/2014

Hours Before Relaxed D.C. Law Took Effect, Immediate Predicaments Included a Jail Stay, Criminal Citations

A man arrested for allegedly smoking marijuana on a street in Northwest Washington. Two people caught in a suspected drug deal near Lincoln Heights in Northeast. A man questioned by police about the scent of burnt pot. A former federal government official allegedly smoking a joint as he drove through Chinatown.

The five are among those who were arrested hours before the District's new drug law took effect midnight Thursday, making possession of one ounce or less of marijuana subject to a civil penalty instead of a crime. They were in various predicaments, from allegedly smoking dope to perhaps selling it, and some went to jail for the night while others were in handcuffs a few hours and then released with criminal citations, neither of which might happen under the revisions.

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7 US MD: In Upholding Marijuana Bust, Court References 'SouthSun, 25 Jul 2010
Source:Baltimore Sun (MD) Author:Hermann, Peter Area:Maryland Lines:94 Added:07/26/2010

Footnotes In Ruling By The State's Highest Court Explain Pop Culture References

The marijuana smoke filled the Baltimore rowhouse in a "haze" that "engulfed" the four people sitting around the kitchen table, all of them within arm's reach of the smoldering remains of a "blunt" in an ashtray.

One of the men appeared "groovy" and "relaxed" and was "just going with the program."

It was, the state's highest court said in a ruling issued Friday, "reminiscent of a scene from a Cheech & Chong movie."

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8 US MD: Column: Lawsuit Brings Dissection Of Fatal SWAT RaidWed, 18 Mar 2009
Source:Baltimore Sun (MD) Author:Hermann, Peter Area:Maryland Lines:86 Added:03/19/2009

The way the attorney for the family suing Baltimore County describes it, heavily armed paramilitary police officers carrying ballistic shields and dressed in camouflage stormed a suburban Dundalk house over trace amounts of drugs without knocking and fatally shot a "devoted mother and wife" armed with a legally registered handgun to defend herself from intruders.

The way the attorney defending the police officers and the county describes it, professionally trained members of the SWAT team raided a suspected narcotics den containing marijuana and cocaine that was occupied by a convicted murderer with access to weapons and a teenager who had just shot another youth in a fight, resulting in the shooting of a woman holding a gun who refused to comply with the cop's commands.

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9 US MD: Charges Against Officer Stir New Claims Of Abuse OnTue, 10 Oct 2000
Source:Baltimore Sun (MD) Author:Hermann, Peter Area:Maryland Lines:162 Added:10/10/2000

In Drug-Hit Areas, Few Seem Surprised

Virginia Johnson walked along Presstman Street on a crisp fall morning yesterday, trying to satisfy her drug habit, ever vigilant for an opportunity -- or for trouble.

The 49-year-old watches for the police officers she knows by nickname, Super Cop and Creeper. And she knows the unwritten code of the street: Don't be anywhere near an officer when a hidden stash of cocaine or heroin is discovered.

"If you're in the area and they find drugs, it's yours," Johnson said. "That's the way it works. Whoever is closest gets the charge."

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10 US MD: Indictment Of Officer Hurts CasesSat, 07 Oct 2000
Source:Baltimore Sun (MD) Author:Hermann, Peter Area:Maryland Lines:127 Added:10/08/2000

Charges Dropped Against Man Arrested By Sewell; Caught In Sting Operation; Prosecutors And Public Defenders To Examine Record

Prosecutors threw out drug charges yesterday against a man who was arrested by a Baltimore police officer under indictment on corruption charges, setting free a defendant accused of drug distribution and assault.

At least 20 people locked up by Officer Brian L. Sewell may see their charges dropped.

The state's attorney's office said they will dismiss any case in which Sewell is the primary arresting officer.

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11 US MD: 20 Cases Could Be Tossed By StingFri, 06 Oct 2000
Source:Baltimore Sun (MD) Author:Hermann, Peter Area:Maryland Lines:142 Added:10/06/2000

Sen. Mitchell asks broad federal probe after officer's arrest; Civil rights inquiry begins

At least 20 people arrested by a Baltimore police officer charged with planting evidence might have their cases thrown out by city prosecutors, and the FBI said yesterday that it has begun a civil rights inquiry into the case.

The case also prompted the state's top public defender to order a review of all past convictions in which defendants claimed police misconduct, which could trigger scores of appeals from imprisoned drug dealers.

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12 US MD: City Policeman Accused Of False Cocaine ArrestThu, 05 Oct 2000
Source:Baltimore Sun (MD) Author:Hermann, Peter Area:Maryland Lines:142 Added:10/05/2000

Six-Year Veteran Is Charged After Undercover Sting; Crackdown On Corruption

A Baltimore police officer was charged with criminal misconduct yesterday after authorities said he fell for a random, undercover sting and falsely arrested a city resident on drug charges.

Officials said the case represents the first failure under random integrity checks that are being conducted by Internal Affairs detectives and FBI agents to rout out corruption under a new city police administration.

Officer Brian L. Sewell, a six-year veteran assigned to the Central District, surrendered to authorities yesterday; he had been suspended since the incident occurred last month.

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13 US MD: Law Opens Drug Sellers To Civil SuitsMon, 02 Oct 2000
Source:Baltimore Sun (MD) Author:Hermann, Peter Area:Maryland Lines:96 Added:10/02/2000

Convicted dealers can be held liable for related deaths; 'We take tiny steps'; Defense lawyers say proving connections would be difficult

Families left grieving over the drug-related deaths of their loved ones have a new way to fight back: They can sue the drug dealers who supplied the dope.

The Drug Dealer Liability Act, passed by the Maryland General Assembly and signed into law this year, took effect yesterday. Under the law, people convicted of selling or distributing drugs can be held civilly liable for deaths connected to the narcotics.

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14 US MD: Drug Stings Bringing Few ConvictionsSun, 24 Sep 2000
Source:Baltimore Sun (MD) Author:Hermann, Peter Area:Maryland Lines:185 Added:09/24/2000

Prosecutors fear entrapment claims will be successful; Cases seldom go to trial; Police say they aim to make things difficult for suburban buyers

A renewed campaign by Baltimore police to pose as drug dealers and round up addicts is being met with skepticism by prosecutors who, fearing claims of entrapment, are reluctant to take most cases to court.

Few of the more than 300 people arrested since June have been convicted. Most of their cases have been thrown out before trial - the only jail time being the hours spent waiting for an initial bail hearing.

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15 US MD: Police Break Up East-Side Drug RingThu, 07 Sep 2000
Source:Baltimore Sun (MD) Author:Hermann, Peter Area:Maryland Lines:137 Added:09/08/2000

42 Arrests Made; Links To Cartel In Colombia Noted; 'We'Ve Made Quite A Dent'

A violent East Baltimore cocaine organization with direct links to a Colombian cartel has been dismantled, fulfilling the new police commissioner's vow to go after top-level drug dealers, police said yesterday.

With a state judge's permission, city detectives broke the drug ring by bugging the phones of suspected traffickers and eavesdropping on their illegal activity. It was the department's first use of a high-tech crime-fighting tool usually used by federal authorities, who in the past led investigations such as the one announced yesterday.

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16 US MD: Baltimore Faces New Beachheads In War On DrugsFri, 09 Jun 2000
Source:Baltimore Sun (MD) Author:Hermann, Peter Area:Maryland Lines:192 Added:06/09/2000

In Park Heights, Dealing Flourishes Despite Police Focus; 'It Has Just Shifted'

George Johnson and his friends like to talk about the futility of the drug war, about how the street pushers and the addicts are at the bottom of a flourishing business for which they go to jail and other people make the money.

But the 54-year-old briefly stopped his discussion outside the Pimlico library branch on Park Heights Avenue to direct the driver of a silver car to the street where crack cocaine and heroin were being sold yesterday morning.

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17 US MD: Drug Crackdown Works, Mayor SaysThu, 08 Jun 2000
Source:Baltimore Sun (MD) Author:Hermann, Peter Area:Maryland Lines:282 Added:06/08/2000

Violence, Drug Deals Decline In Targeted Areas, Police Report

Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley's pledge to reclaim 10 drug-infested areas within six months of taking office has been largely fulfilled, police said yesterday, with crime down and fewer people complaining about dealers and addicts.

Homicides and shootings also dropped on streets surrounding the designated drug markets, which police say shows they are not simply shuffling the drug trade from one block to another.

"The liberation of Baltimore's neighborhoods has begun," O'Malley said yesterday while standing at North Rose Street and Ashland Avenue, ground zero for a band of frustrated residents who have confronted dealers.

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18 UA MD: Report Calls For Police ChangesTue, 04 Apr 2000
Source:Baltimore Sun (MD) Author:Hermann, Peter        Lines:194 Added:04/04/2000

Past Strategies Condemned For Raising Violence, Suspicion; 'Justification For Lost Faith'

Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley unveiled yesterday a much-anticipated blueprint for fighting crime that concludes past policing strategies contributed to violence and public hostility and suspicion.

"The persistence of high crime has undermined the public's confidence in the Baltimore Police Department," the 152-page report by a team of consultants concludes. "And there is justification for this lost faith."

The report was released as city government sources said O'Malley is getting closer to naming Edward T. Norris, a former New York police commander hired as deputy chief in January, as his choice for commissioner.

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19 US MD: Norris' Selection Raises Profile Of N.Y.-Style PolicingSun, 02 Apr 2000
Source:Baltimore Sun (MD) Author:Hermann, Peter Area:Maryland Lines:280 Added:04/03/2000

Zero Tolerance Strategy Generates Fear For Rights

The era of feel-good policing is over in Baltimore.

Any doubt about that ended Friday when former New York police officer Edward T. Norris was named acting commissioner of the city's police force after the abrupt resignation of Ronald L. Daniel.

As a deputy commissioner hired by Daniel, Norris is a driving force behind a new law and order regime being modeled on crime-fighting strategies of the New York Police Department.

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20 US MD: Gangs, Drugs Recede In City NeighborhoodSat, 11 Mar 2000
Source:Baltimore Sun (MD) Author:Hermann, Peter Area:Maryland Lines:158 Added:03/12/2000

Police, residents work to improve life in Pen Lucy

There are many ways to measure what has made Pen Lucy a safer neighborhood. Statistics show crime is down. Residents note the streets are virtually clear of gun-toting drug dealers and glassy-eyed addicts. No one has been shot since October.

But there is another way people here keep track of the violence that for years held this pocket of North Baltimore captive as two gangs battled for control of the lucrative cocaine trade.

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