In a rare loss for federal prosecutors, a jury acquitted a former Baltimore Police detective on charges that he stole $10,000 from a massive drug bust and lied about it to the FBI.
The case against Ethan Glover, who served on a Drug Enforcement Administration task force, is believed to be the final case related to the fallout of the Gun Trace Task Force corruption scandal — and the first acquittal.
Defense attorney Joseph Murtha told jurors that prosecutors had become overconfident in their pursuit of officers in the wake of the scandal, and brought a case that was lacking.
“It’s not your job to tighten up the loose-fitting evidence,” Murtha said in closing arguments.
Prosecutors relied on an account from Glover’s ex-fiancée Kim Campbell, who said that in 2016 Glover stashed $10,000 in her home and said he had taken it from a seizure of $2.4 million. Investigators scrutinized the haul from that bust, and found the amount reported differed by about $10,000 from the total on a tally sheet found in the home.
The case lacked cell phone records or camera footage or other witnesses to bolster the claims. Assistant U.S. Attorney Leo Wise told jurors to use their common sense, and that it was no coincidence that the amount Campbell put forward was the same as the difference from the tally sheet.
“The numbers don’t lie,” Wise said.
Glover, who took the stand in his own defense, dropped to the floor sobbing when the verdict was read, Murtha said. Jurors cleared him of one count of theft of government property and a second charge of lying to the FBI.
Glover, a Baltimore Polytechnic Institute graduate who grew up in Northeast Baltimore and joined the Police Department in 2003, is “an honorable man, who served his community in a way that should be rewarded, not prosecuted,” Murtha told the jury.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to comment on the verdict.
Fifteen current or former officers and three co-conspirators were convicted related to the “Broken Boundaries” investigation of Baltimore Police corruption following charges in 2017 against members of the Gun Trace Task Force, who robbed people of money and drugs, lied on reports and searched people and their homes without warrants. Officers who pleaded guilty and cooperated with the government outlined a pattern of corruption stretching back several years.
Glover was never part of the GTTF, nor is his case officially considered part of the Broken Boundaries investigation. He was in the same police academy class as disgraced Sgt. Wayne Jenkins, the leader of the GTTF who is serving 25 years in federal prison. On multiple occasions when Jenkins seized large sums of money, he called Glover to come collect it.
Jenkins, who attempted to cooperate with the FBI but was discredited, told investigators at one point that Glover had taken money from a 2013 bust in Baltimore County. Glover, who testified at the GTTF trial in 2018 as a government witness, was later questioned by the FBI in February 2020 about Jenkins’ accusation.
Glover was suspended from the DEA task force, but nothing else came of it until December 2020, when one of Glover’s friends, Larry Evans, said he had been at Glover’s home and saw police files in trash bags. He relayed the observation to Glover’s ex-fiancée, and it eventually made its way to internal affairs and then the FBI.
Agents questioned Campbell and asked her the open-ended question of whether she’d ever seen Glover with large amounts of money. She said she had, in 2016, in the amount of $10,000.
Murtha said Glover and Campbell had a bitter falling out that would give her incentive to lie, and told the jury that prosecutors concluded that Glover was corrupt and sought to work backwards.
Wise countered that the evolution of the case showed they were following leads.
“This case, like any other, was a search for the truth,” Wise said.
Prosecutors flew a convicted Mexican cartel member to Baltimore to testify that the information on the tally sheet was accurate.
But aside from Campbell’s account, no one saw Glover take money or even noticed the difference between the seized amount and the tally sheet. DEA task force officers who took part in the bust couldn’t even recall if Glover had put the money in his back seat or trunk. Due to the amount of time that had passed, investigators said they were unable to obtain cellphone call or location information to verify that Glover called Campbell and drove to her home to drop off the money.
Glover was also accused of pocketing $1,000 that was given to Evans to work as an informant in a hit-and-run case, which Evans said he gave back after he changed his mind.
Wise has a forthcoming book about the Gun Trace Task Force investigation titled “Who Speaks Who for You?” from Johns Hopkins University Press.
“The government doesn’t speak for you,” Murtha told jurors in an apparent nod to the title. “You speak for justice.”