Mexican cartel member Enixae Hernandez-Barba says he knew exactly how much cash was stuffed into three duffel bags recovered from his home by law enforcement in April 2016: The money, $2.4 million, had been meticulously counted, with the totals of each bag labeled and withdrawals listed on a small piece of paper.
Being short would bring perilous consequences, he told jurors Tuesday.
“They would’ve killed me or cut my hands off,” Hernandez-Barba testified, speaking through an interpreter.
But when the money was turned in as evidence by the Drug Enforcement Administration task force officers, it was $10,000 short from what Hernandez-Barba’s tally sheet listed.
Federal prosecutors told jurors Tuesday that money was missing because it was stolen by then-Baltimore Police officer Ethan Glover, who is standing trial for theft of government property and lying to federal law enforcement.
The case appears to be the last prosecution related to the fallout of the Gun Trace Task Force corruption scandal, which broke through in 2017 and unearthed years of stealing, lying and drug dealing committed by officers who worked in elite units and federal task forces. Glover testified for the government in the 2018 trial of two Gun Trace Task Force officers, but the FBI later pursued allegations that Glover himself had stolen money.
In addition to flying Hernandez-Barba in from Mexico three years after he was convicted on federal drug charges and deported, prosecutors are relying on Glover’s ex-fiancée and a former motorcycle buddy to corroborate claims that Glover stole the $10,000 from a drug bust and, separately, kept $1,000 intended to reward informants.
Glover’s defense attorney Joseph Murtha said prosecutors have little else to support the accusations, and told jurors that federal investigators may be too eager to add to the number of officers taken down in the GTTF case.
“I think they became a little too invested in the belief they could identify someone who stole,” Murtha said.
Murtha said Glover will testify on his own behalf. While several officers have taken the stand as government cooperators throughout the GTTF saga, Glover would be the first to testify in his own defense.
The 2016 drug bust prompted high-fives at the time from federal agents, who not only recovered the $2.4 million in cash but also 31 kilograms of cocaine, one agent testified. Hernandez-Barba had just taken part in a drug delivery at a warehouse in Linthicum Heights when agents moved in.
It was Glover’s job to transport the cash back to the DEA offices, and he did so by himself.
Kim Campbell was pregnant with their twins when she said Glover uncharacteristically called, saying he was 15 minutes away and wanted her to have the door open for him. He took out a stack of money and hid it in her closet. He said he had fished it out of the duffel bag while driving.
“I was worried, scared,” Campbell testified. Had he done this before, she wondered? What if he got caught?
He later took the money back to his home, storing it behind a refrigerator before taking her to King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, to go shopping. She said he bought only a pair of sunglasses, and spent $300 on a pair of flip-flops for her.
They separated in 2019 and became embroiled in a bitter custody dispute. Murtha read to jurors the proverb that “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Leo Wise told jurors that it was the FBI that reached out to Campbell, asking an open-ended question about whether she had ever seen Glover with large amounts of cash. They had been interested in the possibility that Glover had taken money from another large bust when Campbell recounted the April 2016 incident.
“She didn’t do it to get back at him [Glover], she did it because she was asked, and it was the truth,” Wise said.
Glover is also accused of taking $1,000 that he had given to a friend after signing him up as a confidential informant and saying he believed he had information on a hit and run. The friend, Larry Evans, later decided he did not want to be on the books as a police informant, and gave the money back.
But while the DEA has a record of the payout, there’s nothing showing Glover returned the cash.
Glover is also charged with lying to federal investigators, because he said in a voluntary interview that he had never stolen anything in his life. Prosecutors say their evidence of the two thefts shows otherwise.