- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A former Prince George’s County police officer admitted Tuesday to distributing more than 500 grams of cocaine and protecting interstate shipments of drugs and black market cigarettes.

Appearing in federal court in Greenbelt, Sinisa Simic, 25, of Woodbridge, Va. pleaded guilty to four of 22 criminal charges he faced in connection with a widespread federal corruption investigation that has already resulted in a guilty plea from former Prince George’s County Executive Jack B. Johnson.

Simic on Tuesday pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine, extortion, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime, and the purchase and transfer of a high-powered Desert Eagle handgun to an accomplice.

He faces a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of 80 years in jail on the combined charges. He is scheduled to be sentenced on September 23.

Simic was one of the few arrested during the investigation who was ordered to be held in custody until his hearing. He appeared in court Tuesday wearing a black and white striped jail issued jumpsuit.

Reading from Simic’s plea agreement in court, Assistant U.S. Attorney Sujit Raman said Simic transported and guarded eight shipments of black-market cigarettes and cocaine over the course of a federal 15-month investigation. He and co-conspirator Mirza Kunjundzic, who is also expected to plead guilty in court Thursday, sold hundreds of cases of black-market cigarettes and cocaine to an undercover federal agent. In total, Simic and co-conspirator Kunjundzic were paid more than $52,000 for transporting and safeguarding the shipments, prosecutors said.

To protect themselves during the transports, Simic used his police-issued service weapon and bought a .50 caliber Desert Eagle handgun for Kunjundzic, according to Simic’s plea agreement. Simic used his authority as a police officer to check license plates, driver’s licences and other data not accessable to the public, said Mr. Raman. On one particular day, Simic even took off work as a police officer so that he could drive a shipment of cigarettes to Atlantic City.

Previously, prosecutors said they began tracking Simic after he was observed transporting black-market cigarettes for the subject of another investigation. Two other county police officers and the husband and wife owners of a Tick Tock Liquors in Hyattsville were arrested on similar black-market cigarette smuggling charges and have since pleaded guilty to various charges.

At the time of his arrest Nov. 15, Simic, had worked for the Prince George’s County Police Department for three years.

• Andrea Noble can be reached at anoble@washingtontimes.com.

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