Police officer arrested in drug plot

March 27, 2009 8:32:43 PM PDT
A Philadelphia police officer was accused Friday of selling cocaine to an informant and later plotting with an undercover agent to conduct an armed raid on the home of a person he believed to be a drug supplier. Alhinde Weems, 33, was a longtime drug dealer prior to becoming an officer more than five years ago and continued to deal drugs while he was on the force, federal authorities alleged in an affidavit. The FBI arrested Weems Friday, authorities said.

Police said they do not believe any other officers are involved.

"This man dishonored the badge in a way that's unconscionable to us," Deputy Police Commissioner Richard Ross said at a news conference, adding that Weems has been suspended with intent to dismiss. "This case starts and stops with Weems. This is it."

Ross said the department thoroughly screens police candidates and will conduct an internal investigation to see how an alleged drug dealer got onto the force.

Investigators with the FBI, the U.S. attorney's office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives declined to say where Weems was allegedly dealing or if he is alleged to have dealt drugs while on the job. Weems and a co-defendant are charged with conspiracy to interfere with interstate commerce by robbery, and a firearms charge. Federal authorities said additional charges could be filed.

The investigation began in December when an informant told authorities that Weems was a drug dealer, according to the affidavit. The informant bought about one ounce of crack cocaine from Weems on Dec. 17, followed by a purchase of two ounces on Jan. 14, authorities allege.

On Jan. 29, Weems and the informant bought a kilogram of simulated cocaine from an undercover ATF agent, according to the affidavit.

A month later, authorities allege, Weems told the undercover agent he was interested in robbing the agent's drug supplier. A home invasion was scheduled for Friday, authorities said, and Weems and another man stated they "would be ready to shoot if necessary."

Friday's arrest happened at an undisclosed location where Weems and Smith had planned to meet with the undercover agent, according to the affidavit. Weems had a gun and his police badge on him when he was arrested, the affidavit said.

Tom Stankiewicz, assistant special agent with the ATF, said the arrest shows that authorities will not tolerate wrongdoing by police officers or anyone else.

"It doesn't matter if you're wearing a badge, a gun or a uniform," Stankiewicz said.

Authorities did not know if Weems, who is being held without bail, had obtained an attorney. His telephone number was unlisted.

John McNesby, the head of the Fraternal Order of Police lodge in Philadelphia, said the organization would not be representing Weems.

"The FOP is not going to stand behind a drug dealer cop," McNesby said.

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