11/14/2000

Former officer and full-time crook starts
what will be "life" prison sentence

PoliceOne Staff Report
(AKRON, Ohio) -- A 71-year-old former Cleveland police officer whose health is failing entered federal prison with his son yesterday after they were convicted of operating an interstate drug-smuggling operation.

Robert Walsh Sr., who is suffering from an heart condition, diabetes and a possibly cancerous throat condition, will likely spend the rest of his life serving out his 15-year sentence for bringing close to $12 million worth of cocaine and marijuana to the Greater Cleveland area, the Plain Dealer reported.

Walsh expressed regret that his son, Robert Walsh, Jr., 38, was sentenced to 13 years for his role in the plan, according to the newspaper.

All 30 people charged in the drug smuggling ring have pleaded guilty, U.S. Attorney Ronald Bakeman told the newspaper.

The Walshes were the first to be sentenced.

Walsh served as a Cleveland police officer between 1950 and 1956 when he was injured trying to break up a fight.

But even on the force he was suspected of having connections with organized crime, according to the newspaper.

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