ALHINDE WEEMS led a double life: He was a Philadelphia police officer and a drug dealer.
On Friday (July 23), he paid the price when he was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Joel Slomsky to 15 years - the mandatory minimum but within sentencing guidelines - in a federal lockup.
The sentencing of Weems came little more than a week after a federal indictment last week of three Philadelphia police officers who were accused of stealing 300 grams of heroin from a drug supplier in exchange for $10,000 cash from an accused drug dealer.
Weems is the latest in a cadre of ex-Philly cops - after Malik Snell and Rickie Durham - to be sentenced in the last year to federal prison on corruption and drug-related charges.
Snell received a 30-year sentence and Durham got a two-year sentence. (Federal prosecutors are appealing Durham's sentence.)
Weems, who pleaded guilty in January to distribution of crack, attempting to rob a drug dealer and related weapons offenses, had been a 5 1/2-year veteran of the force, working in West Philadelphia's 18th Police District and making $62,330 a year.
The married father of four was contrite. "I'm ashamed to stand before you today in this situation," he told Slomsky, adding that he had "embarrassed" his family, friends and fellow police officers.
Weems maintained - as did family and friends - that his criminal misdeeds were "totally out of character" and that he was a "good man."
But Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Carrillo said Weems was a dirty cop.
"His badge was a means to commit crimes and not protect the public," she said.
When Slomsky asked how a cop who had no prior criminal record could suddenly go bad, defense attorney Jack J. McMahon Jr. offered a novel theory.
He said many police officers get "desensitized" to the "serious reality and danger" of the drug trade "because they see it every day. If they arrest 10 drug dealers one day, 10 more are back on the streets the next day."
But the explanation didn't wash with the judge. "When law-enforcement officers don't obey the law, nobody is safe," Slomsky said.
Earlier, the judge read portions of a letter submitted to the court by Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey.
Ramsey wrote that Weems "tarnished the badge he wore" and "put a mark on this department that the rest of us must now work hard to erase."
As with other corrupt police officers, Ramsey said Weems' badge will be destroyed and melted into a lump of metal.
Weems had been taken in by a federal informant in December 2008 who was working with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The informant passed along information that Weems was a drug dealer.
Court papers said the informant bought an ounce of crack from Weems on Dec. 17, 2008, for $1,300 and two ounces of crack on Jan. 14, 2009, for $2,400.
A few weeks later, Weems bought and transported what he thought was a $30,000 kilo of cocaine from Maryland for someone he thought was a drug dealer but was really an undercover agent. Weems was paid $500, and sham cocaine was used in the sting.
Weems subsequently began planning to rob a drug dealer's stash house, meeting four times with the informant and undercover agent, who taped the conversations.
During the meetings, Weems stated he would use his badge, uniform and service revolver to enter the house and subdue any occupants, court papers said.
The robbery never occurred because authorities arrested Weems on March 27, 2009, before the planned robbery..