A former Philadelphia police officer was sentenced to nine years in prison Friday for conspiring with officers in Baltimore to sell cocaine and heroin seized from that city’s streets.
Eric Troy Snell, 34, was paid thousands of dollars serving as a conduit between corrupt members of a Baltimore police task force who stole the drugs and his brother, who sold them in Philadelphia.
He pleaded guilty three days into his trial in November in U.S. District Court in Baltimore on charges of conspiring to distribute illegal drugs, after his primary contact in the Baltimore Gun Trace Task Force, Detective Jemell Rayam, testified that he twice provided narcotics for Snell and his relatives to sell.
The first batch came from nine ounces of cocaine that Rayam said he and his fellow task force officers recovered after it was thrown out the window of a car they were pursuing during a high-speed chase. Later deals involving seized heroin netted at least $2,000 on Philadelphia’s streets. Snell pocketed half and deposited the rest in Rayam’s bank account.
After the initial transaction, Snell later admitted, he agreed to sell heroin and other drugs for Rayam, who is to be sentenced next month.
In all, eight former Baltimore police officers, including two commanding sergeants, have been convicted as a result of the FBI’s probe into the Gun Trace Task Force, a special unit deployed to crack down on the proliferation of illegal guns.
All but Rayam are now serving prison terms for using their positions to rob drug dealers and to pocket hundreds of thousands of dollars uncovered while searching homes and cars of suspected criminals.
A ninth officer, charged last month, is accused of planting a firearm at a crime scene in 2014 to justify a fellow officer’s decision to run the man down with his squad car.
Snell began his police career in Baltimore in 2004 and met Rayam at the police academy there, prosecutors said. He joined the Philadelphia force in 2014 and had been assigned to the 35th District in Northwest Philadelphia before he was fired shortly after his November 2017 arrest.