A Chicago Police sergeant and patrol officer were arrested Sunday in an FBI sting and charged with stealing $5,200 from a federal witness they believed was transporting the cash for drug dealers.
Sgt. Ronald Watts and Officer Kallatt Mohammed, who are assigned to a Second District tactical team, were each charged with one count of theft of government funds, according to the FBI.
Watts, 48, is an 18-year police veteran. Mohammed, 47, is a 14-year veteran. They have been released on $10,000 bail.
On Nov. 21, a cooperating witness (CS5) working with the FBI told the officers about a plan by narcotics traffickers to transport drug proceeds. The two officers took the money from CS5, according to a federal affidavit. Agents conducting surveillance recorded the alleged theft on video. Mohammed, driving his personal vehicle, had approached CS5 in the 2700 block of South Vernon and took a bag containing $5,200 from CS5. Later, the officers paid CS5 $400 for allowing them to steal the drug proceeds, the charges allege.
Based on CS5's prior dealings with Watts, including an instance when Watts and CS5 allegedly engaged in a similar transaction, the affidavit states that Watts had told CS5 in September that CS5 should call him or go to the station and ask for Watts or Mohammed to alert them whenever CS5 would be transporting money for drug dealers.
On Nov. 18, CS5 called Watts and told him in a recorded conversation that CS5 had "one going on" that would happen no later than Nov. 21. On that day, CS5 called Watts and said CS5 would pick up a bag from a car near the intersection of 26th Street and Martin Luther King Drive and walk it to another car on 29th Street. Watts told CS5 he would be in the area. Four minutes after receiving the call from CS5, Watts called a number belonging to Mohammed to coordinate Mohammed's participation in stealing the drug money.
Mohammed allegedly took the bag containing the money from CS5 and didn't give CS5 any money in return. He allegedly told CS5 to meet him near 30th and King Drive. CS5 then called Watts and discussed meeting Mohammed to obtain a portion of the money. Minutes after that conversation, agents watched as Watts and Mohammed met in the area of 5700 and 5800 South Princeton. About 20 minutes later, agents recovered the bag that Mohammed had taken from CS5 in an alley behind the 5900 block of South LaSalle St. The bag was empty.
CS5 called Watts again a short time later and met him near 22nd and Canal streets, where, in a recorded conversation, Watts handed CS5 $400. He allegedly said, "Who always takes care of you?"
Theft of government funds carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.