Convicted chief says fake drugs shouldn't count against him in sentencing

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Should a convicted police chief's prison sentence be based on the fictitious weight of pretend cocaine? In a court filing today, Assistant Federal Public Defender Marketa Sims argued that it should not, in advance of the May 15 sentencing of former East Washington police chief Donald Abraham Solomon.

Mr. Solomon has admitted to standing guard, in a police vehicle with a service firearm, outside of what he believed to be drug deals. The second time, he was told by FBI agents posing as drug dealers that the deal he was guarding involved 10 kilograms of cocaine, and they paid him $5,000.

"The Government set the fictional weight of drugs involved in those fictional transactions, and Mr. Solomon had no input whatsoever into the weight or type of fictional drugs involved," Ms. Sims argued. She wrote that if U.S. District Judge Joy Flowers Conti bases the sentence on the amount of pretend cocaine involved, it could be nine to 11 years, versus around three years if the amount is not considered.

She also argued that Mr. Solomon was lured into the scheme.

"It defies any logical analysis that the highest ranking police officer in East Washington could be entrapped," wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert S. Cessar in court filings earlier this month.

Mr. Cessar argued then that Judge Flowers should consider other conduct that was not directly related to the counts of extortion to which Mr. Solomon pleaded guilty.

"During the course of the investigation, the government acquired substantial additional evidence that implicated the Defendant in having a car shot-up; soliciting a confidential informant to have a second car shot-up; participating in drug transactions before this investigation began; using marijuana; inquiring about the murder of a [borough] councilman and making direct threats to murder an ex-girlfriend," Mr. Cessar wrote.

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Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1542 or Twitter @richelord


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