No bail for Philly officer in violent drug plot

April 2, 2009 8:50:09 PM PDT
A Philadelphia police officer is being detained without bail in a violent plot to buy $1.5 million in cocaine and double-cross the dealer. Officer Alhinde Weems, 33, planned to use his badge and gun to pose as a detective and enter the dealer's home, then rob him - and shoot him if necessary, an FBI agent testified at a hearing Thursday. Investigators have audio and even some video recordings of the planning meetings and of two previous drug sales Weems made this year, prosecutors said.

A federal magistrate upheld the charges and denied Weems' motion for bail. Weems was arrested last week at a meeting about the robbery, when he learned the accomplices were undercover agents. "If there's anybody that ever had an incentive to flee, it's you," U.S. Magistrate L. Felipe Restrepo said in denying bail.

Weems, an officer for five years, faces a minimum 15-year sentence if convicted of the weapons and drug trafficking charges, Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Carrillo said.

A confidential informant told federal investigators that Weems had been a drug dealer before joining the department and continued to sell drugs afterward, according to an FBI affidavit. The informant made two recorded buys from Weems, then together with the officer bought a kilogram of supposed cocaine from an undercover agent, the FBI said.

Weems next schemed with the agent to pull off a home-invasion robbery of the agent's "supplier" in Maryland, in hopes of finding 30 to 60 kilograms of cocaine, FBI Special Agent John Dolan testified. Weems vowed to shoot the victim if necessary and planned to display his badge if police stopped him on the way home, Dolan said.

Weems also said he could provide weapons, a silencer and accomplices for the heist, authorities said.

Defense lawyer Charles Peruto Jr. suggested the FBI set up Weems through the confidential informant, a lifelong friend. He also plans to challenge FBI allegations that an item found at Weems' home - along with his service revolver, a semi-automatic and two other firearms - was a homemade silencer.

Several of Weems' police supervisors are prepared to testify for him as character witnesses, Peruto said.

More than two dozen relatives and friends, including Weems' wife, attended the hearing, shouting support to him as he was returned to prison. Weems has five children.

A day earlier, a fired Philadelphia police officer was acquitted of using a gun to rob a drug kingpin of $40,000 in cash during a vehicle stop. The jury deadlocked on charges that the former officer, Malik Snell, took part in a separate home-invasion robbery attempt in Pottstown in search of drug money.

Federal prosecutors plan to retry those charges, and Snell remains jailed.

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