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Former officer sentenced to life for part in drug trafficking

The Associated Press

HAMMOND, Ind.- A federal judge on Friday sentenced a former Gary police officer to life in prison for assisting in a violent campaign against rival drug dealers as part of a cocaine trafficking operation.

A federal jury in late 2003 convicted James Ervin of several counts of drug-related felony charges.

According to prosecutors, he extort money from competitors while helping Jay Zambrana, who investigators said directed a gang of 16 members who imported millions of dollars worth of illicit drugs into northwest Indiana and sold them to street dealers. Both men were convicted.

Ervin, a nine-year veteran of the police department, also was ordered to execute two Chicago drug dealers in 1998, prosecutors said.

Twelve members of the gang eventually pleaded guilty or agreed to do so and will not face trial.

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