The head of the Anne Arundel County narcotics squad and one of his detectives were indicted today in what the Maryland attorney general's office portrayed as a successful sting operation and the Anne Arundel police department described as two officers simply doing their jobs.

The officers -- Sgt. John Mosley III, 38, and Detective James Michael Goddard, 26 -- were indicted on charges that they broke into a hotel room and stole $1,000 from a suspected narcotics dealer who turned out to be an undercover Maryland State Police officer.

Mosley, of Wye Mills, and Goddard, of Chester, face charges of conspiracy, theft, daytime housebreaking, breaking and entering, and misconduct in office.

Mosley is a 17-year member of the county's police force who had been with the narcotics squad for five years; Goddard an eight-year member who spent the last three years as a narcotics investigator.

The six-count indictment stems from a Jan. 4 incident in which the two officers allegedly broke into Room 2326 in the International Hotel at the Baltimore-Washington International Airport and stole $1,000 from a state police undercover officer, Sgt. August Stern, who was posing as a dealer named Thomas Parkette.

"It is a cause for special sadness to bring criminal charges against members of the law enforcement community, but we have no greater responsibility than to do so when warranted," Maryland Attorney General Stephen H. Sachs said in a prepared statement.

But Anne Arundel County police spokesman Richard Molloy described the incident far differently.

The narcotics squad, he said, had been tipped off by an informer that a purported Florida drug dealer -- in reality Sgt. Stern, working undercover -- would be arriving at BWI that day with as much as four pounds of cocaine, and planned to stay at the International Hotel in Room 2326.

Facing the possibility of such a large drug bust, Molloy said, Mosley, Goddard and four other detectives went to the International Hotel, booked an adjoining room and obtained a passkey to 2326 from the hotel manager.

Mosley and Goddard, he said, entered the room, where they saw a briefcase that contained ten $100 bills and "what looked like bags of cocaine."

The detectives took the money back to their room, where the other officers were waiting, and telephoned the serial numbers to their headquarters and the Drug Enforcement Administration, Molloy said.

Then, he said, "Somehow, somewhere along the lines, our guys smelled a rat, busted into another adjoining room, and found out it was full of state police."

"This is what the charges stem from, them entering that first room and taking that money out," Molloy said. "The only problem is they didn't have a warrant to go into that room." He said the money had been returned to the state police.

Assistant Attorney General Dale P. Kelberman, deputy chief of criminal investigations in the attorney general's office, refused to comment on that version of the incident.

Mosley and Goddard, who could not be reached for comment today, have been assigned to administrative duties outside the narcotics section.