The Crime Scene: Drug charges against Md. police officer

March 16, 2011

Federal authorities in Maryland on Wednesday accused a Montgomery County police officer of helping her fiancé, a convicted drug dealer, operate a cocaine trafficking ring.

Delores Culmer, 37, of Silver Spring, allegedly used law enforcement databases to access information about her fiancé and his associates, officials said. They allege that she ran computer checks on people who had drug deals with her fiancé, and that she helped him hide his assets.

According to a filing in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, the fiancé bragged that he could find anyone at anytime.

The fiancé gave Culmer expensive gifts, including an engagement ring worth about $100,000, court papers say. He also gave her $30,000 in drug proceeds that she used toward the purchase of a Silver Spring home that was used as a safe haven from drug dealing.

Culmer’s fiancé is not identified in court papers. But prosecutors said in docments that he has two prior drug convictions in Pennsylvania.

Montgomery County police said Culmer was hired in 2003 and will be placed on unpaid administrative leave.

“The investigation and arrest of one of our own officers is always a difficult time for any police department,” Montgomery County Police Chief J. Thomas Manger said in a statement. “This department continues to be committed to the highest standards of integrity, and will not tolerate criminal misconduct. I am proud of the reputation that the men and women of this department have earned over the years and none of us can allow anyone to tarnish the badge we are so honored to wear.”

Federal prosecutors in court papers outline several records checks they allege Culver made for the benefit of her fiancé’s drug trafficking organization.

In November 2009, for instance, they said she ran registration checks on two vehicles that belonged to the girlfriend of a drug customer who owed her fiancé money. The checks revealed the girlfriend’s address in Pennsylvania.

Early the following year, court papers say, the drug customer reported to Pennsylvania police that the vehicles had been vandalized, according to court papers. And in April 2010, both vehicles were targeted by an arsonist.

Culmer has been charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and fraud in connection with computer use.

Federal officials said the probe was initiated by Montgomery County Police in the spring of 2010 and that Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Department of Homeland Security and the Internal Revenue Service investigated.

“The law enforcement community here in Maryland and around the country is committed to weeding out those whose acts tarnish the image of the many law enforcement officers who work tirelessly to keep our communities and country safe,” William Winter, an ICE special agent, said in a statement.

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