- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A D.C. police officer protected her boyfriend while he packaged large amounts of crack and heroin on the kitchen table of the couple’s District Heights home, federal prosecutors said this week in describing a drug conspiracy that they say extended from the streets of Northeast Washington to Arizona.

Officer Tamara McGuire, a three-year Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officer assigned to the 2nd District until she was placed on administrative leave in May, lived with co-defendant Arthur Elliott III and their young child with “full knowledge of Mr. Elliott’s drug dealing activities,” according to court documents.

“She acted as lookout and warned Elliott of police presence.”

Authorities do not say that Officer McGuire was involved with the distribution, transporting or packaging of narcotics.

The federal indictment against Officer McGuire and 11 others was unsealed last week. On Monday and Tuesday, in arguing for detention of 10 of the 12 defendants, prosecutors offered vivid details related to evidence obtained from wiretaps, undercover drug buys and surveillance in the year-long investigation.

The investigation targeted D.C. resident Jarrell Elliott, Arthur Elliott’s cousin, as the top supplier of the drug conspiracy and a “major distributor” of heroin and crack in the Washington area.

After being charged last week, Officer McGuire was released on her own recognizance.

“Once this case is resolved, MPD will follow up depending on what the outcome is,” said police spokeswoman Officer Tisha Gant.

Gwendolyn Crump, another police spokeswoman, would not say what prompted Officer McGuire’s administrative leave. “As of last week we are in the process of moving toward suspension without pay,” she said, declining to elaborate because it is a personnel matter.

The indictment marks the second time this year a D.C. police officer has been charged with a major crime. Seven-year veteran Officer Reginald Jones pleaded guilty last month to second-degree murder and conspiracy stemming from a December street robbery gone wrong.

The FBI and MPD’s Safe Streets Task Force initiated the recent drug conspiracy investigation in July 2009, when authorities got a tip from a confidential informant that a 59-year-old man named Claude Brooks and his girlfriend, Verlissa Taylor, were dealing heroin and crack at 19th Street and Benning Road in Northeast, according to court papers.

Wiretap intercepts and undercover buys showed that Brooks and Taylor received the drugs from Arthur Elliott, according to court papers. Further wiretaps and surveillance led authorities to Mr. Elliott’s District Heights apartment, which he shared with Officer McGuire and their child, described as a “toddler,” where Mr. Elliott is said to have packaged as many as 400 individual bags of heroin at a time.

Authorities said Mr. Elliott had multiple suppliers of crack and heroin, including Gerald Powell, 39, whom prosecutors identified in court as Mr. Elliott’s “most proficient and reliable supplier, second only to Jarrell Elliott.”

Evidence presented to U.S. District Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson included 14 drug purchases from July 2009 to February, in which Arthur Elliott is said to have supplied the drugs to a street dealer. In one instance, prosecutors said, Mr. Elliott personally sold 14 grams of crack to an undercover police officer while seated in his car with his child. Mr. Elliott used a car registered to Officer McGuire for drug dealing purposes, court papers said.

Customer service and coded language characterized the drug distribution conspiracy, prosecutors said.

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