MPD's Stephanie Ellison faces money laundering conspiracy charge

WASHINGTON (AP/WJLA) - A Metropolitan Police Department officer faces a money laundering conspiracy charge allegedly stemming from the purchase and financing of two cars and a motorcycle with money that came from a drug conspiracy.

Prosecutors say Stephanie Ellison, 49, was indicted by a Washington grand jury Thursday and arrested Friday.

On Friday evening, Detective Stephanie Ellison’s daughter did not want to appear on camera, claiming her mother was not at their Southeast home. But Ellison did spend part of the day here in front of a U.S. District Court judge, requesting bond on money laundering conspiracy charges.

Prosecutors claim that Ellison used drug money to purchase or finance a 2006 Maserati with a price tag higher than $40,000, a 2009 BMW 750Li that costs nearly $50,000, and a Harley Davidson Night Rod.

"It's police -- they can do what they want, they can get away with it," said District resident Dominique Hall.

But Ellison is a decorated detective who received a Meritorious Service Medal in 2005 for using exceptional skill, judgment and diligence.

"Usually, police officers are very well selected," said Goran Proot. "And they get a lot of training. So I think she knew she was doing the wrong thing."

The veteran detective who has been an officer since 1986, spent years here at the Seventh District Station in Southeast, but had no idea she was under investigation by Internal Affairs for drug money conspiracy in both D.C. and Maryland.

The investigation stretched from April 2011 through December 2012, according to court documents.

Ellison also had no idea that her case was going before a grand jury because everything was under seal; prosecutors didn’t want her looking into the system or getting a tip from other cops.

A judge released Ellison late Friday night on her own recognizance.

If convicted, Ellison faces up to 20 years in prison. A police department spokeswoman did not immediately return an e-mail message requesting comment Friday. Ellison's lawyer did not return a telephone call Friday.