Law Center - POSTED: 2007/05/11 13:00
Jeffry Courtney pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge Thursday morning, becoming the last of four former Hollywood police officers to accept responsibility for his role in a mob-style federal drug sting.
"I feel very terrible about the activities that went on," Courtney told Judge William Dimitrouleas as he entered the guilty plea for conspiring to possess a load of heroin with intent to distribute.
On Wednesday, Thomas Simcox pleaded guilty to the same conspiracy charge. The officers' punishment could range from 10 years to life in prison, with the possibility of a reduced sentence for cooperating with the government.
Two other officers pleaded guilty last month.
No other police officers are expected to be charged, according to two law enforcement sources familiar with the case.
But there is still an ongoing probe into who leaked information about the FBI sting, forcing federal agents to abort the investigation before they were able to make further arrests.
Simcox pleaded guilty to conspiring to possess a load of heroin with intent to distribute. An extortion-conspiracy charge was dropped as part of the plea deal with the officers.
All four officers cut a similar deal.
They were all accused of providing security in an FBI sting in which undercover agents posed as organized crime figures during a series of stings -- from illegal gambling to transporting narcotics.
All four have pleaded guilty to the one conspiracy count of providing protection to move more than one kilo of heroin from Miami Beach to Oakwood Plaza in Hollywood for what the officers believed were mob-connected drug dealers.
The plea comes nearly three months after Simcox and the three other officers -- Kevin Companion, Stephen Harrison and Courtney -- were arrested by federal agents.
Simcox will be sentenced July 18 and Courtney will be sentenced on July 27.
Originally, Simcox was the only one of the four cooperating with authorities. He is alleged to have worn a concealed recording device for nearly a month.
Simcox's attorney, Bruce Udolf, would not comment on the extent of his client's cooperation with authorities.
Simcox agreed to surrender his law enforcement certificate and repay the FBI $16,000. Courtney must also surrender his certificate and repay the FBI $22,000.
Officials said Simcox received $8,000 in cash for protecting the load of heroin, and a total of $16,000 during his involvement in the illegal activities.
The FBI sting, dubbed Operation Tarnished Badge, was part of a two-year probe in which the officers were accused of providing protection for what they thought were illegal gambling and drug-dealing operations.
The four were charged with conspiring to possess with intent to distribute a multi-kilo load of heroin between October and November 2006.