Local News

Robeson Deputy Pleads Guilty in Federal Probe

Posted February 12, 2007 11:16 p.m. EST

— Another former Robeson County deputy pleaded guilty Monday to drug and kidnapping conspiracy and using a gun in a crime, charges that resulted from the “Operation Tarnished Badge” probe of the sheriff’s department, federal prosecutors announced.

Vincent Sinclair, 44, of Red Springs, admitted taking part in the crimes in December 2003 and February 2004. The drug conspiracy and gun charges each carry five-year minimum sentences, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District, based in Raleigh. No sentencing date was set.

Prosecutors said the investigation, which focused on the drug-enforcement division of the sheriff’s office, has now resulted in 11 convictions.

The charges against Sinclair said he and co-conspirators had waited for a local drug dealer to leave a card game, then stopped him, took him into a wooded area and beat him. He also was accused of having helped kidnap two men in Virginia whom the group believed had a large amount of money. Prosecutors said Sinclair and another man wore police badges and had their guns drawn when they approached the two men.

They drove the men back to North Carolina and interrogated them, but the pair escaped at gas station.
Other deputies have been convicted of shaking down drug dealers after stopping them along Interstate 95.