Five of Six Kentucky Lawmen Found Guilty in Bribery Case

From Associated Press

A federal court jury Friday found five of six eastern Kentucky law enforcement officers, including four sheriffs, guilty of taking bribes to protect drug dealings.

The jury deliberated about 20 hours over three days before returning the verdict one year to the day after the six were arrested and charged.

They were charged with accepting bribes from undercover FBI agents posing as drug dealers and with conspiracy to distribute drugs.

Breathitt County Sheriff Dean Spencer was acquitted of all charges.

Each of the other five lawmen was also convicted of conspiracy to commit extortion, which carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

In addition, former Lee County Sheriff Johnny Mann, Wolfe County Sheriff Lester Drake and suspended Beattyville Police Chief Omer Noe were all convicted of at least one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, which carries penalties of 10 years to life in prison and up to $4 million in fines.

Mann was convicted on 18 of 19 counts, and Drake was convicted of 13 of the 17 charges he faced. Noe was convicted on seven of 13 counts.

Owsley County Sheriff Billy McIntosh was convicted of eight of the 14 charges against him, and Wolfe County Deputy Sheriff Wilson Stone was convicted on two of nine counts.

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