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PG officer indicted for stealing, selling guns

Capital Gazette Communications, Inc.,
BYLINE: JOE AIELLO, Staff Writer, Capital Gazette Communications
Link to Article

Prince George County, MD

One gun used in shooting of fellow officer

A Prince George’s County police officer has been indicted by a Circuit Court grand jury on 13 counts of misconduct in office and theft.

Juan Diego Carter, 36, of Bowie and a 13-year veteran of the police department, had been assigned to a Maryland State Police Gun Interdiction Task Force since 2007. In November 2009 an audit revealed that 23 guns that had been seized by the task force were missing and that Carter was the officer who had recovered them.

The task force, which was headed by the Maryland State Police, was a multiagency operation that, according to the state police, seized more than 400 guns over the two years the task force was in operation.

It is alleged in charging documents that Carter never turned in the guns he had seized and instead sold them to people on the street. One of the guns that Carter allegedly sold was used in a 2009 botched robbery that led to the shooting of an off-duty Prince George’s County police officer.

“I am sickened that an officer on our police department could engage is such despicable behavior. I applaud our Special Investigative Response Team for their relentless work that led to the closure of this crime. Bad cops have to be rooted out. They tarnish the good work that is being done by the rest of our officers,” said Police Chief Roberto L. Hylton.

Carter was taken into custody and remanded to the County Correctional Center on a $200,000 bond. Carter had his police powers stripped and he has been suspended without pay.

The police department, which over the last three decades has had periods of internal issues involving officers and illegal activity, went through several federal investigations and in recent years had been seen in a more positive light for changes made within the agency.

The indictment of Carter comes on the heels of an alleged cheating scandal involving police recruits and scores they received on tests. The investigation continues into the training academy and the officers have been cleared while the focus is on what police officials say was a “lazy instructor” and not the cadets.

A police official who spoke on condition of anonymity said, “It’s sad that stories like these make negative headlines for the police department, but the good work we do is seldom written about.”

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