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Pentagon police officer accused of dealing cocaine had previous arrest in Arlington

Eric Welch (photo courtesy ACPD)

A Pentagon police officer accused of dealing cocaine has a prior criminal conviction in Arlington.

Eric Welch, 33, was arrested near an apartment complex along Columbia Pike on Oct. 28, “after detectives observed him purchase narcotics for distribution,” according to Arlington County police. He’s now out on bond and expected back in court for a preliminary hearing on Dec. 28.

This is not the federal police officer’s first run-in with Arlington police and courts.

Welch was previously charged with assault and destruction of property after an early morning incident along S. Four Mile Run Drive in late 2018.

“At approximately 2:15 a.m. on December 15, 2018, police were dispatched to the 4100 block of S. Four Mile Run Drive for the report of an assault just occurred,” ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage tells ARLnow. “Upon arrival, it was determined the suspect, female victim and female witness were traveling together in a cab. As they arrived at the suspect’s residence, he became aggressive and exited the cab prior to paying.”

“A verbal dispute ensued, during which the suspect allegedly reached into the cab, took the driver’s cell phone from his hand and slapped the female victim,” Savage continued. “He then threw the driver’s phone, causing damage. The suspect fled the scene prior to the arrival of police. The Magistrate issued warrants for Assault & Battery, Destruction of Property and Procure a Vehicle with Intent to Defraud for Eric Welch, 29, of Arlington.”

In 2019, Welch pled guilty to an amended charge of disorderly conduct and was given a six month sentence, with the entire sentence suspended. Two other charges, including destruction of property, were dropped.

The Pentagon Force Protection Agency tells ARLnow that Welch has been an officer there since February 2015 and he was placed on administrative leave after his recent arrest. An agency spokesperson declined to provide specific information on disciplinary action after his 2018 arrest.

“When a police officer is arrested, it is standard procedure for the arresting police department to notify the officer’s department,” said PFPA’s Jacqueline Yost. “We have nothing to add on the arrest, beyond the Arlington County release and court records. We do not comment on personnel matters.”

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