Original story below…
NOTTINGHAM, MD—A former Baltimore police officer has pleaded guilty to making false statements to a federal law enforcement officer.
Victor Rivera, 48, of Nottingham, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to making the false statements in connection with a scheme to sell three kilograms of cocaine seized during a Baltimore Police Department investigation.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur and Special Agent in Charge Jennifer C. Boone of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office.
Victor Rivera joined the Baltimore Police Department on July 11, 1994 and November 21, 1999, respectively. In February 2009, Rivera served on a squad with I.L., W.J., C.J., P.G., and K.G., that was supervised by W.K.
According to his plea agreement, prior to February 19, 2009, W.J. and C.J. told Rivera they had received information from a confidential informant about a large-scale narcotics trafficker operating out of a residence on the 1400 block of Ellamont Street, in Baltimore, Maryland. On February 19, 2009, Rivera, I.L., and other members of the squad were conducting surveillance at the residence of the alleged narcotics trafficker, an individual whose initials are T.M. Rivera and another member of his squad, W.K., followed a car from that residence to a nearby school where Rivera saw the driver throw something into a trash container.
Once the driver left, Rivera and W.K. recovered the trash and found it to be empty kilogram drug wrappers. During this time other officers claimed to have followed a second individual who left the residence who threw trash from the car window, which was found to contain cocaine residue. Rivera, and other officers remained at the house until W.J. and C.J. obtained a search warrant from a Baltimore City District Court judge.
As detailed in his plea agreement, Rivera ultimately participated in the search of the residence. While no drugs were found in the house, officers found car keys, including a key that had the ability to activate an alarm in a vehicle remotely. A BPD officer activated the alarm and officers heard the alarm sound in a pickup truck that was parked nearby. Rivera learned that drugs were found in the truck. Other officers waited with the cocaine until a SWAT team arrived to provide protection during the transportation of the cocaine to BPD headquarters because it was such a large quantity.
In order to transport the cocaine from the scene to BPD headquarters, it was loaded into a BPD surveillance van driven by K.G. After the cocaine was loaded into the surveillance van, officers followed the SWAT team to BPD headquarters to maintain chain-of-custody over the cocaine. Forty-one kilograms of cocaine were turned in to the BPD’s Evidence Control Unit on February 20, 2009. Later that day, a criminal complaint was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland charging T.M. with possessing with intent to distribute five or more kilograms of cocaine.
Rivera discovered three additional kilograms of cocaine in the surveillance van that had been used to transport the cocaine to BPD. These kilograms of cocaine had come from the seizure from T.M.’s pickup truck on February 19 and 20, 2009, but had not been turned in to the BPD on February 20, 2009. Rather than turn this cocaine in to BPD, Rivera, and others agreed to sell the cocaine and split the proceeds from its sale.
Rivera sold the cocaine to a confidential informant of his, who trafficked in cocaine. The source sold the cocaine in Baltimore City. Rivera received the proceeds of the sale from his source and then shared them with other officers. Ultimately, Rivera received $20,000 in drug proceeds from the sale of the cocaine seized from T.M.’s pickup truck that had not been turned in to BPD.
On November 1, 2019, Rivera agreed to participate in a voluntary interview with FBI task force officers (“TFOs”). Rivera was told it was a crime to lie to the FBI TFOs interviewing him and he acknowledged he understood. In that interview, Rivera made a number of false statements and material omissions. An example being, the FBI TFO asking, “Did you ever hear of anybody taking any drugs or any money or anything like that from the incident?” to which Rivera replied, “No sir. No.”
Rivera faces a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment for making false statements to federal agents. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the FBI for its work in the investigation. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Leo J. Wise, who is prosecuting the case.