3 Philly officers face drug, corruption charges

By Balzafire · Jul 13, 2010 · ·
  1. Balzafire
    PHILADELPHIA — Federal authorities say three Philadelphia police officers plotted with drug dealers and staged a traffic stop and drug seizure in a scheme to steal $15,000 worth of heroin from a supplier.

    Officers Mark Williams, James Venziale and Robert Snyder, along with Snyder's wife Christal, were named in a 14-count indictment announced Tuesday. Three suspected drug dealers also were named in the indictment.

    Assistant U.S. Attorney Virginia Gibson said the officers' plan went awry when they tried to sell 300 grams of heroin to an undercover federal agent.

    The officers are in custody, pending detention hearings later this week. It was not immediately clear if they had lawyers.

    By MARYCLAIRE DALE (AP) 07/13/2010

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  1. Balzafire
    Update to story:

    Feds: Alleged rogue cops were plotting a second robbery

    As three Philadelphia Police officers are set to appear in court on charges of stealing heroin from a dealer, federal prosecutors today revealed the trio were planning a second robbery before they were arrested.

    Officers Mark Williams, Robert Snyder and James Venziale hoped to take cash from a man the pair believed was involved with illegal gambling. As with the earlier robbery, in which the officers unknowingly colluded with an undercover DEA agent to arrest a drug dealer and rob him, the officers apparently believed that their potential victim would not report the stolen money.

    According to court documents filed today by the U.S. Attorney's Office, there was another similarity to the earlier heist: the officers' alleged target was an undercover agent posing as a member of the Mafia.

    Williams, Snyder and Venziale were arrested this week on conspiracy charges for allegedly planning to steal heroin and profit from the sale of it. All three were fired and are being held in federal detention. They are scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon and prosecutors are asking that they remain jailed.

    The documents shed light on the role of Christal Snyder, Robert Snyder's wife, who has also been charged with conspiracy for allegedly helping to plan the drug robbery by passing messages between drug dealer Angel Ortiz and the officers. Christal Snyder's sister has children with Ortiz, according to the documents.

    Venziale has already confessed to helping plan the drug robbery, according to the motions filed. Williams has also admitted his involvement in planning to steal the cash from the man he believed was a mobster.

    By Allison Steele
    Inquirer staff writer
  2. Balzafire
    Related story?:
    [h1]Former officer gets 15 years for drug dealing[/h1]

    A former Philadelphia police officer was sentenced Friday to 15 years in federal prison for drug dealing and planning to rob an undercover agent posing as a drug dealer. Alhinde Weems, 34, who pleaded guilty to drug and firearms charges in January, had faced the possibility of life in prison. Weems was a drug dealer before he became a police officer and continued selling drugs while on the force, prosecutors said. He was with the department for 51/2 years. He was arrested in March 2009 with his police-issued gun on the way to attempting the robbery. Four firearms were recovered from his house, along with ammunition and a homemade silencer. - Robert Moran

    Posted 07/24/2010
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