By Baynard Woods
October 26, 2017
Two members of Baltimore’s Gun Trace Task Force who have pleaded guilty to federal racketeering charges appeared in court Wednesday to testify for the government in a federal drug case, detailing numerous crimes committed while on duty.
Momodu Gondo said he and his colleagues had stolen over $100,000 in “U.S. currency, drugs, firearms.”
Former detective Gondo was testifying against Glen Kyle Wells, an alleged heroin dealer he had protected from police for years. In one scene detailed in court Wells and Gondo teamed up with Gondo’s partner Jemell Rayam to rob another drug dealer. Gondo said that Rayam “had experience running into people’s homes to rob.”
Rayam fatally shot a man named Shawn Cannady in 2009, resulting in calls for investigation of the department and a $100,000 settlement. He was involved in two other nonfatal shootings.
Eight members of the Gun Trace Task Force have been arrested on federal corruption charges. Prosecutors, who were brought to Gondo by a wiretap on the drug organization, allege that members of the Gun Trace Task Force had also been charging the department for thousands of dollars in false overtime pay in addition to robbing citizens.
The father of Baltimore rapper Young Moose, whose real name is Kevron Evans, told me that Daniel T. Hersl, one of the detectives under indictment, often raided their East Baltimore store Out the Mud. In 2015, he sent me two videos. One shows Hersl leaving the store and the other a busted safe, from which Evans claims money was removed and confiscated—without record.
At that time, several members of the Evans family were facing charges relating to a raid on their home, which Hersl justified, in part, with scenes from Young Moose’s rap videos.
“[D]uring the month of May 2014, your Affiant was advised by numerous police officers that Kevron Evans has numerous rap videos on You Tube [sic]. Your Affiant reviewed the videos and in them, observed Kevron Evans and his associates in possession of multiple firearms,” Hersl wrote in his 2014 application for a search warrant, raising first amendment complaints among many observers.
During the case, the defense requested the internal affairs records on Hersl, who has been the subject of settlements that have cost the city well over $100,000. They were already being reviewed in a federal case.
This, the family said, led to another long period of harassment, especially after they beat the charges against them.
“Hersl’s what we fear in our neighborhoods,” Kevin Evans said. “If [Hersl] is on the street. I don’t drive. He’s going to plant something on me.”
“I feel good driving my car today,” he said on the day Hersl was locked up.
According to Evans, he called internal affairs to report Hersl’s behavior on numerous occasions and was told it was “out of their hands.”
“This guy’s history has been so well documented and publicized, the fact that he was still on the force is an indictment of the whole idea of police policing police,” said Richard Woods, Young Moose’s lawyer.
Hersl was not on the Gun Trace Task Force during much of that time, creating the impression that the corruption could be more widespread. But the fact that at least one task force commander was allegedly involved in the corruption shows how deeply it runs. Gondo testified in court Wednesday that he told his commander Sgt. Wayne Jenkins, who has also been indicted, to back off of his old heroin-dealer friend Wells—after they had together robbed $20,000 from another drug dealer. Jenkins, Gondo said, complied.