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Former Baltimore Detective Sentenced To Federal Prison For Covering Up Planted Evidence

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Dominique Maria Bonessi
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Former Baltimore detective Carmine Vignola was sentenced Thursday to 18 months in federal prison for a gun-planting incident. He is the 12th officer convicted by the Maryland U.S. Attorney's Office and the FBI in their ongoing investigation of police misconduct and activities related to the corrupt Gun Trace Task Force. 

Carmine Vignola wasn't a Task Force member, but he lied to a grand jury about his knowledge of a 2014 incident involving the now incarcerated sergeant of that specialized unit. 

 

After that sergeant ran over a man with his police car in Northeast Baltimore, he was looking to justify the initial chase. And Vignola helped him secure a BB gun to plant at the scene. 

 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Leo Wise explained how Vignola helped plant evidence and then lied in detail, while under oath. 

 

"What could be more nefarious?" he asked Judge Catherine Blake at Vignola's sentencing. 

 

That false testimony, he argued, taints Vignola's credibility and now, approximately 700 past cases that he worked on are compromised. And the testimony was used to indict another Baltimore officer.  

 

"The criminal justice system is affected," he said. 

 

The defense cited Vignola's otherwise "excellent" record of 12 years on the police department. And they tried to minimize Vignola's crimes in comparison to the corrupt action of the other officers. 

 

Members of The Gun Trace Task Force were indicted in 2017 on corruption charges ranging from robbing citizens of cash to selling seized drugs to falsifying police reports. Some plead guilty, some went to trial. By 2018, eight members of the GTTF were convicted. 

 

Wise said more indictments can be expected. 

 

 

 

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