Two unnamed Anne Arundel County narcotics detectives have been put on administrative duty pending the outcome of an investigation by the Maryland State Police and the state attorney general's office to determine if they were skimming money and drugs captured in local investigations, county officials said today.
As a part of the investigation, state police set up a fake drug deal last Friday in an attempt to catch the two. That deal resulted in an armed stand-off between six county narcotics officers, including the two detectives, and undercover state agents, believed by the officers to be drug dealers. The detectives were subsequently taken to a state police barracks near Jessup, Md., and questioned, but released without being charged, sources said.
Today, county and state officials declined to comment on the extent of the investigation or who the detectives were.
County police spokesman V. Richard Molloy said the investigation, which began without the knowledge of county Police Chief William S. Lindsey, was spurred by complaints from "anonymous attorneys" for accused drug dealers who told Attorney General Stephen H. Sachs that the detectives were "skimming money and possibly drugs" from evidence confiscated in county drug investigations.
Anne Arundel County narcotics detectives have been working with state and federal agents to crack down on drug traffic in the county. Last month, a three-county drug raid netted cocaine with an estimated street value of $20 million, and $500,000 in cash.
In a prepared statement, Lindsey said, "I feel the integrity of the department and the credibility of our narcotics operation has been undermined. We will now have to defend ourselves against allegations made by drug people and their attorneys."
State police used a woman previously arrested by county detectives to set up Friday's deal. The woman reportedly told the detectives that a man -- in reality, a state undercover detective -- was coming from Florida with perhaps four pounds of cocaine with a street value of $500,000, Molloy said.
A detective was recorded on videotape putting money in his pocket, Molloy said; however, the detective called in the bills' serial numbers both to county police and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.