Sheriff who tipped off drug crew pleads guilty to obstructing official proceeding

Sheriff who tipped off drug crew pleads guilty to obstructing official proceeding
Posted at 2:18 PM, Oct 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-16 14:18:59-04

A member of the Anne Arundel County Sheriff's Department who thwarted a drug investigation by tipping off its target pleaded guilty in federal court, the United States Attorney for the District of Maryland said.

Channel Holland, 36, of Glen Burnie, pleaded guilty to obstructing an official proceeding. The U.S. Attorney's Office said Holland provided the investigation's target with information regarding law enforcement activity, investigative information, and sealed indictments. Holland was the Human Resource Administrator for the Sheriff's Department.

Holland faces a maximum term of 20 years in prison when she is sentenced on March 26, 2019.

According to the plea, sealed indictments were returned June 8, 2018, on 10 members of a drug crew, including Traymont "Whamp" Wiley, who was thought to be the organization's leader. The crew operated in Anne Arundel County and were thought to have been involved with several murders in the county. Arrest and search warrants were authorized for several locations associated with the group.

A conversation with Wiley and another person on June 11, 2018 was picked up on wiretaps as part of the original investigation. During the conversation, Wiley said he had been tipped off he was going to be arrested. That conversation led to several more concerned calls among targets of the investigation. During those subsequent calls, investigators learned the person who tipped off Wiley was referred to as "Chanel." Portions of the sealed indictments were heard being read aloud on some calls, including Wiley using the exact language of his sealed indictment. 

An audit of the Maryland Judiciary Secure Case Search, a database only accessible to law enforcement and related personnel, showed that Holland's account was the only one to have searched for all four names heard in intercepted phone calls. Phone records showed Holland had 96 contacts with Wiley on June 11, and video footage showed that on the same day, she had visited the offices where Secure Case Search can be accessed.

A search warrant for Holland's residence and phone was executed on June 20. Messages showed Holland had been in contact with Wiley, providing information beginning in April 2018. On June 11, she sent a photograph of the sealed indictment to Wiley. She provided additional information through phone calls, sharing information about potential cooperating witnesses and sources, including photos of those people and information about their court cases. 

According to the plea, Holland said she didn't want Wiley and his co-conspirators to get additional charges and thus alerted them to the outstanding warrants and indictment. She admitted to knowing her actions would affect federal grand jury proceedings.