Former Cook County Sheriff's Police Officer Pleads Guilty to Robbing Drug Dealers While on Duty
CHICAGO — A former police officer in the Cook County Sheriff’s Department pleaded guilty in federal court today to robbing drug dealers of cocaine, marijuana and contraband cigarettes during home invasions and while on duty.
In a written plea agreement, ROBERT VAUGHAN admitted that he robbed eight drug dealers from 2011 to 2013, earning a total profit of $300,000. Vaughan said he conducted the robberies with two other law enforcement officers, and the trio shared in the profits, according to the plea agreement. The robberies were carried out in Chicago, Cicero, Plainfield, Lyons, Melrose Park and Forest Park.
Vaughan, 44, of Frankfort, pleaded guilty to one count of robbery. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, plus a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or gross loss resulting from the offense, whichever is greater. U.S. District Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan scheduled a sentencing hearing for February 3, 2016, at 10:00 a.m.
According to the plea agreement, Vaughan was assigned to the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) team, a joint federal, state, and local initiative to combat the trafficking of illegal narcotics. Vaughan admitted using his position as a police officer to orchestrate deals with drug traffickers for marijuana, cocaine and contraband cigarettes. Immediately after the transactions, Vaughan would arrest and handcuff the individuals – but then keep the narcotics for himself and release the dealers without charges. Vaughan later sold the narcotics to other dealers in exchange for cash.
Vaughan also admitted robbing individuals and homes of marijuana based on information he had learned from confidential informants. He was arrested on Nov. 3, 2014, after he and another law enforcement officer robbed 70 pounds of marijuana from an individual whom they believed was a drug courier. In reality, the individual was an undercover federal agent, according to the plea agreement.
The guilty plea was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and John A. Brown, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant United States Attorney Sunil Harjani.