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Ex-Deputy Sentenced in 'Operation Tarnished Badge'

Posted December 13, 2007

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— U.S. District Judge Terrence W. Boyle handed down one more sentence Tuesday in an ongoing, five-year-long investigation that has netted the convictions of 22 former Robeson County law-enforcement agents.

Former Robeson County Deputy Sheriff Kevin Rudolph Meares, of Lumberton, was sentenced for one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. He pleaded guilty to that charge in August 2006.

Boyle gave Meares eight month's of prison time and three years of supervised release and ordered him to repay $29,033 to Robeson County.

The court also found that Meares had abused his position of trust. His sentencing, however, took into account Meares' cooperation with investigators, U.S. Attorney George E.B. Holding said.

Meares was accused of stealing federal funds that were earmarked for combating drug trafficking in the county.

Federal agents made Operation Tarnished Badge public in June after beginning it five years ago. More serious charges have included kidnapping, money laundering, conspiracy to defraud the government and use of a firearm during a crime of violence.

Glenn Maynor, who was Robeson County sheriff from December 1994 until 2005, pleaded guilty in September to lying to a federal grand jury and misapplying federal funds.

The investigation was launched after reports that now-former deputies Roger Taylor, C.T. Strickland, and Steve Lovin kidnapped drug suspects and extorted money from them.

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