Baltimore Police Officer Accused of Working for Heroin Dealer
Officer Ashley Roane Arrested for Federal Drug, Gun, and Identity Fraud Crimes; U.S. Attorney Calls Allegations “Appalling Violation of Public Trust”
|U.S. Attorney’s Office May 31, 2013|
BALTIMORE—Baltimore Police Officer Ashley Roane, age 25, of Pikesville, Maryland, has been charged with helping a heroin dealer by providing armed, uniformed security for drug transactions; offering advance notice of search warrants; and using police databases to check for informants. In addition, Roane and her roommate, Erica Hughes, also age 25, of Pikesville, have been charged with aggravated identity theft in connection with a scheme in which Roane used a police database to obtain the names of victims to be used to obtain fraudulent tax refunds. The criminal complaint was filed on May 28, 2013, and unsealed today upon the arrest of the defendants.
The charges were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Commissioner Anthony W. Batts of the Baltimore Police Department.
“The allegations represent an appalling violation of the public trust by an officer who took an oath to serve the public but used her police powers to serve herself,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “The complaint alleges that Officer Ashley Roane agreed to help a drug dealer find a safe place to sell heroin in Baltimore and provide early warnings before police executed search warrants, that she provided armed security for drug deals while in uniform in her patrol car and that she checked a police database to identify informants. In a separate identity fraud scheme, she allegedly used a police database to obtain names, birth dates, and Social Security numbers that could be used to obtain fraudulent tax refunds from the IRS.”
“This case was discovered and investigated by members of a joint Baltimore Police and FBI anti-corruption task force and re-emphasizes my commitment to rooting out corruption within the Baltimore Police Department,” said Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts. My message to the people of our city is we are not finished—we will continue to relentlessly target corruption and misconduct among the ranks. A special note of thanks to all the police officers, agents, and prosecutors for their assistance with this investigation and their continued support.”
According to the criminal complaint, on February 26, 2013, a confidential source provided information regarding alleged criminal activity being conducted by Baltimore Police officer Ashley Roane and her roommate Erica Hughes. The confidential source advised law enforcement that in the fall of 2012, Roane had spoken to the source regarding drug trafficking and had told the source that if the source, whom Roane believed was a large scale heroin trafficker in Baltimore, wanted to sell drugs in the area where she patrolled, Roane would provide the source with a location that is not heavily concentrated with police. Additionally, Roane told that source that she could provide the source with information regarding police activity, specifically when and where drug search warrants would be executed.
The criminal complaint alleges that Roane provided assistance and protection to the confidential source in the source’s alleged drug trafficking. For example, on March 28, 2013, the criminal complaint alleges that Roane conducted a criminal check of one of the source’s alleged associates to see if that person was an informant or cooperator with the Baltimore Police Department. According to the complaint, Roane agreed that she would tell the confidential source if the person were an informant so that the source would not engage in a drug transaction with that person. Further, the criminal complaint alleges on the on April 30, 2013, while in uniform, armed with her service firearm, and in a marked Baltimore Police Department vehicle, Roane provided protection while the confidential source conducted a narcotics transaction involving a kilogram of heroin. The confidential source allegedly paid Roane $500 for her protection, and Roane agreed to provide such protection again in a future narcotics transaction involving multiple kilograms of heroin.
According to the criminal complaint, Hughes and Roane believed that the confidential source also worked as a tax preparer, and they provided the personal information of more than 30 individuals, including names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers, to the confidential source to prepare and submit false tax returns to the IRS in order to obtain fraudulent tax refunds. The criminal complaint alleges that Roane obtained the personal information from law enforcement databases through her position as a Baltimore Police officer.
Roane faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison for possession with intent to distribute heroin and a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum of life in prison for possession of a gun in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Roane and Hughes face a mandatory sentence of two years in prison, consecutive to any other sentence imposed, for aggravated identity theft. The defendants will be detained pending an initial appearance which will be scheduled for Monday, June 3, 2013, in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.
A criminal complaint is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the FBI and Baltimore Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorney Peter M. Nothstein, who is prosecuting the case.