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N.J. Sheriff's Officer Allegedly Traded Drugs For Sex

THE WOMEN on Broadway in Camden hustle for their hits every day, dodging the cops, demented tricks and the deadly dose that'll leave them cold and blue in a trash-filled basement.

One prostitute named Angelina, according to allegations laid out in a letter written last month by the Camden County Prosecutor's Office, met a cop she didn't have to dodge, though - an officer who had access to heroin and was allegedly willing to trade it for sex for the past 16 months.

The letter, obtained by the Daily News on Wednesday, details a lengthy investigation into the conduct of Thomas W. Smith, an officer with the Camden County Sheriff's Department who was in charge of the evidence room.

The letter, addressed to Smith's attorney, said the investigation found that he was a familiar face at the Broadway "shack" where Angelina often crashed with other prostitutes. Smith would pick the woman up, "wearing his duty vest, badge and firearm," the Prosecutor's Office alleged in the letter, and often would exchange heroin for oral sex. Smith always came to the shack alone, prostitutes told investigators, and one alleged that Smith once pulled out his penis there and asked her to perform oral sex on him, while Angelina did the same to her.

Smith denied the allegations when confronted by investigators, and as of Wednesday night, he had not been charged with any crime.

"When initially confronted with the allegation that he was having sex and supplying heroin to prostitutes, Officer Smith sarcastically replied, 'Want my gun now?' " Assistant Camden County Prosecutor Mark Chase wrote in the letter.

The Prosecutor's Office claimed to have recorded phone conversations and text messages between Smith and Angelina, and according to the letter, the office believed that the investigation would result in an indictment with charges of official misconduct that could have landed Smith five to 10 years in prison.

But the Prosecutor's Office was offering Smith a choice in the letter: Plead guilty to a third-degree offense and forfeit his job, and the office would not charge him with second-degree official misconduct.

Smith's attorney, Leonard Baker, said his client was scheduled to appear before a judge in Camden on Thursday morning, but he declined to comment further.

Smith did not return a phone call for comment. His boss, Sheriff Charles Billingham, would only confirm that Smith was still employed by the department. The Camden County Prosecutor's Office also declined to comment on the letter, or any pending hearings, or why the office didn't charge Smith if it felt the evidence was sufficient.

According to the letter, Angelina and other witnesses told investigators that Smith obtained the drugs from busts and from the "burn," the evidence he was supposed to destroy in an incinerator. The Prosecutor's Office audited the most recent evidence burn prepared by Smith, the letter stated, and found a shortage of bags.

Smith, according to the letter, told investigators that Angelina was simply an informant who he had signed up and that he only ever paid her in confiscated cigarettes. Superior officers in the sheriff's department, according to the letter, told investigators that Smith's duties didn't include talking to prostitutes and driving them around, or setting up any "narcotics jobs."

Smith did not deny driving Angelina to her relatives' homes on at least two occasions, the letter stated, but those relatives told investigators that she often returned "high," "slumped down in the front seat and nodding her head." Her family told investigators that it was odd that a sheriff's officer would be hanging out with Angelina, according to the document.

Contact Jason Nark at narkj@phillynews.com or 215-854-5916. Follow him on Twitter @JasonNark.

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