Local News

Ex-Deputy Pleads Guilty To Kidnapping, Gun Charges

Posted August 21, 2006 6:54 a.m. EDT

— A former Robeson County deputy pleaded guilty Monday to a kidnapping charge as part of the "Operation Tarnished Badge" investigation.

The three-year investigation focused on the drug enforcement division in the sheriff's office. Since June, federal investigators have charged five former Robeson County deputies with stealing money from drug dealers along Interstate 95.

Patrick Terrell Ferguson, 35, of Red Springs, pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to kidnap and using a firearm in a crime of violence. The charges stem from a February 2004 incident in which two suspected drug dealers were driven from Virginia to North Carolina in an effort to extort money from them. One of the dealers was shot in the leg after he refused to cooperate.

Ferguson, who is cooperating with authorities, faces a sentence of up to life in prison when he is sentenced later.

"Obviously, there were some influences there and pressures and he made some bad decisions, and he has since tried to right those decisions by doing what's right," said Bert Nunley, Ferguson's attorney.

James Allen Black Jr., 34, of Red Springs, a drug suspect who cooperated with Robeson County deputies in shaking down other dealers, also pleaded guilty Monday to conspiracy to kidnap and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine.

Former deputies James Hunt and Kevin Meares already pleaded guilty to shaking down drug dealers for thousands of dollars during traffic stops on I-95 and then laundering the money.

The charges against the deputies have led prosecutors to dismiss more than 300 drug cases, authorities said.

All of the deputies worked under former Robeson County Sheriff Glenn Maynor, who hasn't been implicated in the case.