Jemell Rayam, a former Baltimore cop caught up in the Gun Trace Task Force scandal, was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison Tuesday.
He was the last of eight officers from that disbanded unit to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Catherine Blake.
According to prosecutors, he was one of the key players in the specialized unit of plain clothes officers brought down last year by federal investigators.
Prosecutors caught Rayam and other members of the unit of rogue cops on wire taps plotting the details of their robberies.
After his arrest in March 2017, Rayam opened up about crimes ranging from illegal searches and overtime fraud, to stealing drugs, guns, and cash from citizens.
He pleaded guilty to more than fifteen robberies while acting as a police officer.
He faced a maximum of fifteen and half years. But because he cooperated, prosecutors asked for 12 years.
David Boyle, Rayam's lawyer, asked for only three years. He said after the hearing that Rayam started out as a good cop, but got sidetracked.
"Corruption happens in small steps," Boyle said. "He ran into some individuals and was weak and took the easy path when he should have said no."
Rayam’s relatives were in the courtroom, some holding tissues and wiping away tears.
His father, mother, and an older sister each came to the podium to tell the court that Rayam was brought up in a household full of faith, love, and honor.
“He violated everything he was taught,” his father, John Rayam, said. He referred to Rayam as the prodigal son.
“When he comes home, he will have this support group,” the elder Rayam said. He looked at his son and said through tears, “I still love you.” Rayam, wearing an orange prison suit with KCDC Inmate printed on the back, responded, “I love you, Dad.”
Judge Blake called the case a tragedy on many levels and said Rayam's conduct was "terrifying".
Rayam was placed in handcuffs and lead away.