12/10/2010

RI cop pleads guilty to conspiracy, other charges

The widespread State Police drug investigation netted four Providence police officers and 20 others

By Eric Tucker
Associated Press

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A narcotics detective in Rhode Island has pleaded guilty to conspiracy, harboring a criminal and other charges following a widespread State Police drug investigation that netted four Providence police officers and 20 others.

Joseph Colanduono (KAHL'-ahn-DWAH'-noh) entered his plea Thursday, becoming the first police officer to plead guilty in the probe. One other man, Albert Hamlin, the brother of another charged Providence police officer, has pleaded guilty to drug-dealing charges.

Prosecutors say Colanduono bought cocaine from Hamlin and shielded him from arrest.

He faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced next month.

Colanduono served on a task force run by the Drug Enforcement Administration until he was arrested. He and the other officers have been suspended without pay.

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