LOS ANGELES (CN) – A former Los Angeles Police officer has been sentenced to 102 years in prison for conspiring to rob drugs and money from drug dealers. William Ferguson is one of 19 people accused of invading the homes and robbing more than 40 suspected dealers.
Federal prosecutors say Ferguson, his brother Joseph Ferguson, and Ruben Palomares – all LAPD officers – ran the robbery ring from early 1999 until June 2001.
Joseph Ferguson was sentenced to more than 8 years in prison, and Palomares, who also was sentenced in a San Diego cocaine trafficking case, faces 20 years.
The Ferguson brothers and Palomares were three of the five officers involved in the ring, and the only defendants to go to trial.
Palomares could have received a life sentence, but testified against the Fergusons in exchange for prosecutors’ recommendation of a lower sentence. He described the violent robberies during trial, saying that the robbers often assaulted the victims after using police badges to get through the door.
Palomares testified that the robbers handcuffed and threatened their victims, fired stun guns at them and hit them with police batons. In one instance, Palomares said, the robbers put a gun in a victim’s mouth.
William Ferguson, 35, was convicted of six counts of civil rights violations, conspiring to violate civil rights, conspiring to distribute drugs, five counts of possession or attempted possession of drugs with the intent to distribute, and four counts of brandishing a firearm while committing a drug offense.