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Ex-N.Y. Narcotics Officers Convicted of Planting Evidence, Falsifying Information

The Associated Press

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Two former police detectives were convicted Friday of violating the rights of drug suspects by planting evidence, stealing money and falsifying information to get search warrants.

A federal court jury convicted Paul Skinner, 46, and Sylvestre Acosta, 50, following a three-week trial.

Acosta faces a mandatory prison term of at least 55 years for his conviction on three counts each of deprivation of civil rights, conspiracy and using a firearm in a crime of violence. Skinner faces at least 5 years in prison after being convicted of one count each of the same charges, according to the U.S. Attorney's office. Sentencing was scheduled for March.

The two, both of whom received a number of commendations from their department, were indicted in January 2003. Neither testified at trial.

A key prosecution witness was Rene Gil, a former police colleague, who earlier took a plea deal to drug-trafficking charges.

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