Armed drug dealer released from prison on dirty cop’s lies
With his 2008 firearm conviction overturned by a federal appellate court earlier this year, 39-year-old Cortez Fisher recently opted to plead guilty to the gun charge again, rather than face a second prosecution that included a crack-cocaine charge. On Dec. 4, Fisher was sentenced to time served, and he was freed from prison on Dec. 11, after a violation-of-probation sentence he received in an earlier federal firearm conviction was adjusted to allow for his immediate release. Absent these developments, Fisher – who has a long history of arrests and convictions dating as far back as the early 1990s – was due to stay in prison until 2017.
Fisher’s conviction fell apart thanks to dirty cop Mark Lunsford, a Baltimore police detective assigned as a task-force officer to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, who lied in a search-warrant affidavit while investigating Fisher’s crimes in 2007. Lunsford, in a case involving a broad set of facts that he lied in sworn documents to steal government money, was charged in 2009, and a trove of suspicious valuables was seized when agents searched his Sykesville home. In 2010, he pleaded guilty to lying and embezzlement.
Lunsford is now also free, having served his 20-month sentence. His criminal conduct had immediate fall-out for prosecutors bringing cases he’d investigated, and the repercussions in some cases continued for years, including in Fisher’s appeal and in a complex case with ties to Mexican cartels in which a lengthy jury trial contended with Lunsford’s presence in the investigation.