By ILANA YERGIN, Maryland Newsline/CNS
GREENBELT, Md. (November 23, 2010)Two of the nine men arrested last week in a sweeping FBI corruption probe in Prince George's County pleaded not guilty in court Tuesday.
Prince George's County Police Sgt. Richard Delabrer, 45, of Laurel, and Jose Moreno, 49, of Alexandria, Va., pleaded not guilty to conspiring to interfere with commerce and a related forfeiture count in separate hearings in U.S. District Court.
Delabrer was released and will remain under electronic monitoring. Moreno would have been released under the same terms, but is being held until a land line phone is installed in his home, said U.S. Magistrate Judge William Connelly.
If found guilty, both men could face up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines, Connelly said.
The two men were arrested Nov. 15 as part of an FBI corruption probe in Prince George's County linked to the arrest of Prince George's County Executive Jack Johnson and his wife, County Councilwoman-elect Leslie Johnson.
While the Johnson arrests allege corruption in connection with development, the men in court Tuesday were named in an indictment that outlines a scheme to transport untaxed alcohol and cigarettes in Maryland and Virginia.
The courtroom was full of Delabrer's friends and family, with more waiting in the hall, including his wife, Eri Delabrer, and two of his four children.
Little was said publicly in either of the hearings Tuesday.
Delabrer's lawyer, James Papirmeister, said afterward his client has been with the police department for 22 years.
"He has outstanding evaluations," said Papirmeister. "Perfect? No. Most of us in our careers are not perfect."
Moreno's lawyer, Michael Lawlor, could not be reached afterward.
Jury trials for each are scheduled to begin Jan. 18, and will last about eight weeks, Connelly said.