Two Anne Arundel County narcotics detectives were suspended without pay yesterday afternoon, hours after a circuit court jury found them guilty of stealing $1,000 during a drug raid last January.
Sgt. John Mosley III and Detective James M. Goddard could each receive up to 58 years in prison for theft and related offenses when they are sentenced Aug. 5.
"It was a shocking verdict," Police Chief William S. Lindsey said yesterday afternoon. He said he believed the two men were guilty of illegally breaking into a hotel room, but not of criminal intent. "I did not feel these guys were criminals and thieves," he said.
Mosley and Goddard, who both live on the Eastern Shore, were arrested Jan. 4 as they tried to break up a fake drug deal set up by state police in a hotel at Baltimore-Washington International Airport. The detectives admitted they took $1,000 from the suspect's briefcase, but said they did so only to check serial numbers on the currency.
Mosley, who seemed cheerful and optimistic through the week-long trial, stared straight ahead as the verdicts were read at 1:45 a.m. today, while Goddard buried his head in his hands. The officers could not be reached for comment today, but Lindsey and lawyers for the men said they expect the convictions to be appealed.
About three dozen of the officers' colleagues lined the hallways offering support and encouragement as the two detectives and their wives left the courthouse early this morning.
Lindsey, who waited with his men through nine hours of jury deliberations, gathered the angry officers around him when Goddard and Mosley left. "Listen up a minute," he ordered, as the officers muttered their disgust at the verdict. "It's a tough damn thing. It's not over till it's over. There are appeals."
But outside the courthouse, the officers vented their anger. The verdict shows "the system doesn't work," said one officer. Another detective said the convictions will hurt the work of the police narcotics section, "not to mention relations between the county and state police."
Mosley, 38, a 17-year veteran of the police force, has headed the major offenders unit of the narcotics section for the last five years. Goddard, 26, whose father is a patrol officer with 25 years as a county policeman, joined the department after high school eight years ago, and had worked with Mosley for the last three years.
The two officers and four colleagues went to the International Hotel after an informant -- who actually worked for the state police -- told them a major cocaine dealer was staying there. While the others watched the "suspect" in the hotel restaurant, Mosley and Goddard entered his hotel room and discovered a briefcase containing $9,400 and a large quantity of a substance that looked like cocaine. They removed ten $100 bills, and left the room.
An hour and a half later, the county detectives raided the room and arrested the occupants. They then raided the adjoining room, and were arrested by state troopers who had set up videotaping equipment there. The two detectives were charged with breaking and entry, theft, conspiracy and misconduct in office.
Goddard and Mosley argued in court that they had taken the $1,000 only to check serial numbers. County police and U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency officials agreed that Mosley had called them to check serial numbers about 20 minutes after the money was taken.
But Maryland Assistant Attorney General Dale P. Kelberman, who prosecuted the officers, argued that the numbers were telephoned in only after the officers became suspicious. He questioned why they did not continue their room search after they discovered the money, or why they did not remove all the money and the cocaine.
Kelberman also noted that the two men had no search warrant and did not tell their colleagues in the restaurant that they were going to search the suspect's room or that they had taken $1,000.
Mosley and Goddard testified that they had no reason to tell their colleagues. They said they feared the drug suspect would leave before they could get a warrant, and that they didn't think they needed one anyway.
Police Chief Lindsey said yesterday he will now organize a police trial board to examine whether the detectives breached department regulations. To prevent bias, he said, the board will comprise officers from other jurisdictions.
He said he believed the men "were culpable for the way they handled some of the procedures . . . . Breaking and entry . . . that's illegal entry and I think they're guilty of that. They didn't have any business doing that."