$100,000 bail set for accused Camden officers

Posted: October 20, 2010

Bail was set at $100,000 each Tuesday for two suspended Camden police officers charged last week with using their badges to steal drugs and cash from neighborhood narcotics dealers.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen M. Williams presided over the detention hearings for Antonio Figueroa, 34, and Robert Bayard, 32, whom she ordered free on bail. She set several other conditions, including electronic monitoring and a 9 p.m.-to-6 a.m. curfew.

Each defendant was allowed to sign a bond secured by property in order to make bail.

Bayard's wife and Figueroa's live-in girlfriend were appointed "third-party custodians," responsible for seeing that each defendant abided by restrictions set by the judge.

Williams rejected motions by federal prosecutors who had asked that the defendants - who pleaded not guilty during preliminary hearings last week - be held without bail pending trial, tentatively set for Dec. 20.

Defense attorneys had successfully rebutted prosecution claims that the so-called rogue cops were flight risks or a danger to the community if released, the judge said.

Timothy Quinlan, who represents Figueroa, and Robert N. Agre, the lawyer for Bayard, pointed out that their clients had been aware that they were targets of a federal investigation since late 2009, when they were suspended without pay.

Neither had attempted to flee or had presented a danger to the community, the lawyers contended.

They also pointed out that three other Camden police officers implicated in the case had been free on bail since pleading guilty.

Those officers - Kevin Parry; 30, Jason Stetser, 32; and Dan Morris, 47 - each face potential 10-year sentences.

Authorities say that the five were part of a special operations unit assigned to help enforce the law in some of the city's most drug-infested neighborhoods.

Instead, prosecutors allege, they used their badges to break the law.

The two-year investigation was outlined in a nine-count indictment returned Thursday against Figueroa and Bayard, alleging that the officers stole drugs and cash from dealers, planted evidence, falsified police reports, and lied under oath.

Figueroa and Bayard had been held without bail until their release Tuesday afternoon.

Contact staff writer George Anastasia at 856-779-3846 or ganastasia@phillynews.com.

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