D.C. Officer's Alleged Drug Role Detailed

D.C. Officer's Alleged Drug Role Detailed
Posted by FoM on March 23, 2000 at 06:57:51 PT
By Ruben Castaneda & Allan Lengel, Washington Post
Source: Washington Post
Andrew James McGill Jr., the D.C. police officer charged in a major drug ring that operated in the District for the past decade, bought drugs and tried to sell them, urged fellow officers to ignore the gang's trafficking and lied to a federal grand jury about his ties to the group, according to new allegations filed yesterday in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt.
The allegations, contained in an amended indictment, included charges that McGill, 29, "received things of value, including money, from co-conspirators" and committed perjury. McGill was arrested in January on the original indictment, which charged him with narcotics conspiracy.The latest indictment did not specify amounts of money or what else McGill allegedly received from the gang. But the indictment, along with police reports, alleges that McGill tooled around in a 1996 Chevrolet Tahoe stolen from former Washington professional basketball player Ben Wallace, aware that the car was stolen.The new indictment provided the richest account yet of McGill's alleged role in the drug ring.For the first time, it is clear that prosecutors believe McGill not only warned the drug gang about police patrols and undercover operations, but also purchased and attempted to sell drugs himself. While he worked in a plainclothes unit investigating drugs, McGill also threatened two fellow police officers who suspected he was helping the drug gang that operated primarily out of an apartment in the unit block of Forrester Street SW, prosecutors have said.McGill, who was arrested Jan. 6, is suspended from the police department, which he joined in July 1990. He has pleaded not guilty and is free under court-ordered restrictions pending a May 2 trial."We were expecting this," McGill's attorney, William C. Brennan, said of the new indictment. "It does not change our position on this case."D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey declined to comment on the charges against McGill until after the trial."He's entitled to due process like everyone else," Ramsey said. "It's before the court, and I'm just as interested as everyone else to find out just exactly what took place."As of yesterday, seven of the 12 people indicted in the case have pleaded guilty to federal narcotics or related charges. Another D.C. police officer, Victor Kelly Jr., has pleaded guilty to one count of perjury in connection with the case.The people who have pleaded guilty have agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors against the remaining defendants, including McGill.Kelly, who worked in the 7th Police District, admitted that he lied to a federal grand jury in Greenbelt last Dec. 15 when he testified that he never talked to Erskine "Pee Wee" Hartwell, the suspected leader of the drug gang, about narcotics trafficking or about who was supplying Hartwell with drugs, according to court papers.Kelly, 32, an 11-year employee of the department, resigned shortly before pleading guilty, according to D.C. police.The new perjury charge against McGill stems from his Aug. 18, 1999, testimony before the federal grand jury investigating the suspected drug ring. According to a partial transcript of McGill's testimony contained in the new indictment, McGill answered no when asked if he ever purchased marijuana or cocaine from Denard Hartwell, a cousin of Erskine Hartwell's.Denard Hartwell, also known as "Den Den," is among those who have pleaded guilty to being part of a drug conspiracy. In his grand jury testimony, McGill also denied ever having seen Erskine Hartwell or any Hartwell associates with drugs, knowing whether Erskine Hartwell sold drugs or having given Erskine Hartwell information about police activity, the transcripts showed.Prosecutors allege that McGill became friendly with Erskine Hartwell around the early 1990s. After Hartwell was convicted in Prince George's County Circuit Court of reckless endangerment and sentenced in January 1997 to a year in the county correctional facility, McGill visited Hartwell in jail, according to prosecutors.McGill also owned a cellular telephone owned by the drug gang, prosecutors allege.Staff writer Arthur Santana contributed to this report. By Ruben Castaneda & Allan LengelWashington Post Staff WritersThursday, March 23, 2000; Page B01  Copyright 2000 The Washington Post CompanyRelated Articles:D.C. Officer Allegedly Leaked Information Police Officer Charged With Drug Trafficking Officer's Ties to Gang Outlined Links Officer to Drug Ring 
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Comment #4 posted by dddd on March 23, 2000 at 16:50:41 PT
After reading kaptnemos'comment,I started to think about how the cops go bad. Like most politicians,I think most cops start out as honest,and sincere as most people.But even the most highly principled are eventually converted by CASH. The politician is probably drawn in quicker than the rookie cop,mainly because,you cant stay in office if you dont compromise your integrity.(I might be wrong,but I think most all politicians at the state and federal levels,have crooked ghosts in their closets,,,some have monsters in garages) The rookie cop has to prove him/herself for a few years before getting into the inner circle. My point is;I must reluctantly admit,that if I became a cop,at the age of 22 or so,and several years later,I was involved in busting people,no knock swat team raids,undercover stings,etc...and I was confronted with large amounts of raw cash,again and again,in the high stress,gestapo-esque drug war enforcer job,day after day,,,I cant say that I would not be strongly tempted to take a "tip",from a sack of cash.One might justify it by thinking;"this is just cash from drugs,,,no one will know or complain if it's short a couple of thousand,,,,,etc...I know this sounds devious and sort of sick,,but power and authority are extremely powerful corrupting influences.Eventually,even a nun,becomes a secret whore....?????dddd
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Comment #3 posted by kaptinemo on March 23, 2000 at 15:49:33 PT:
If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas
An old saying that seems especially appropriate here. The problem of police corruption is as old as the concept of policing. So long as they cannot posssibly match the 'salary' of a drug dealer, the temptation to 'wet the beak' will always be there. Back in the late 80's the DC police force hired many recruits without adequately investigating their backgrounds. This led to a lot of cops being hired who had felony records. Many of those dealt with hard drug use and distribution. Soon they were proving to be an embarassment to the force, and many were dismissed - or locked up for committing crimes while on duty.Many of us reading this know that the present laws against drug usage are unworkable. The police know this as well, but are tongue-tied politically. So, despite the harranguing the pols and the bureaucrats and their catspaw 'concerned citizens organizations' gave them, they have no illusions about their efficacy in the matter. They risk their lives, and for what? But so long as a bureaucrat can keep building a little satrapy and maintain the power that goes with it, we will continue to be presented with such spectacles.
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Comment #2 posted by MMM on March 23, 2000 at 11:05:42 PT
Robin Hood 
If the guy's dealing MJ, applaud him like Robin Hood. If he's dealing hard drugs, he should be penalized with TWICE the penalty as a civilian. 
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Comment #1 posted by dddd on March 23, 2000 at 08:42:18 PT
I wonder why none of our great law making,wanna be czars,,hasn't made some sort of 'zero tolerance',,,'mandatory minimum',,for really creepy people like this,who are in law enforcement. It would seem to me that this level of crime,far exceeds the worst drug dealer.Not only was this guy involved in drugs,he did it while on the public payroll.This is the worst of the worst if you ask me.Where are the harsh special laws for these super-creeps?....dddd
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