Fourteen people, including 12 former sheriff's officers and correctional officers, have pleaded guilty to a drug dealing conspiracy centered in a North Carolina county, the US Department of Justice announced on Tuesday.
Nine of the accused pleaded guilty on Tuesday, while five had previously pleaded guilty, a DOJ statement said. The charges included drug conspiracy, firearms and bribery.
The FBI began an undercover investigation in April 2013 into suspected systemic corruption within the Northampton County Sheriff's Office, on the state's northern border with Virginia.
Undercover agents posed as members of a drug dealing organization selling narcotics along the I-95 corridor, the DOJ statement said. The defendants admitted that they knew they were recruited to work for the drug operation because of their status as law enforcement officers, or their ties to law enforcement.
The DOJ said the defendants transported purported narcotics and proceeds from narcotics for the organization in exchange for bribes, and that some carried firearms during the crimes.
Those pleading guilty included Jason Boone, a former captain with the Northampton County Sheriff's Office, and Jimmy Pair, Jr., a former lieutenant. Both pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy and bribery charges.
Those convicted also included two former officers with the Virginia Department of Corrections.
Sentencing information was not immediately available.