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Police cadet charged with stealing drugs, cash from department's evidence room

The Republic,

Baltimore County, MD

TOWSON, Maryland — A Baltimore County police cadet was charged with stealing drugs and money from the department's evidence room, officers said Wednesday.

Nicholas Ishmael, 20, of Parkville, was carrying $40,000 in cash in a backpack when he was arrested Tuesday at police headquarters, authorities said.

An audit and an internal investigation began in April, after a detective was unable to get evidence for a drug case from the evidence room, police said. The investigation included surveillance of the evidence room, authorities said.

Officers said Ishmael stole drugs including cocaine, morphine and oxycodone. The stolen drugs had an estimated street value of tens of thousands of dollars. The audit of 182,400 pieces of evidence is continuing.

Ishmael is charged with 10 offenses, including theft and possession with intent to distribute narcotics, and was released on $650,000 bail. A phone number listed for Ishmael was not working and online records didn't list a lawyer for him.

In Baltimore County, police cadets are young civilian employees who perform entry-level tasks, including fetching items from the evidence room and putting them back. Police Chief James Johnson said in a statement that he began his career as a cadet.

Johnson said he has ordered a review of policies and procedures concerning the evidence room. The stolen evidence was from 15 cases, including a homicide, he said.

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