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Ex Va. police chief pleads guilty to drug charge

Tuesday - 7/16/2013, 8:05am  ET

ABINGDON, Va. (AP) - A former police chief in southwestern Virginia has pleaded guilty to dealing methamphetamines, cocaine and other drugs.

U.S. Attorney Timothy Heaphy says 54-year-old former Chief Michael Dean Roberts -- also known as "Fireball" -- pleaded guilty in federal court in Abingdon Monday to a one-count information charging him with distributing drugs, also including prescription painkillers. An information signals that Roberts is cooperating with authorities in their investigation.

Authorities say Roberts sold thousands of pills and other drugs from 2006 through June. A confidential informant bought hydrocodone pills from the police chief on three separate occasions in May and June.

Some of the drugs came from the department's evidence room.

Roberts faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine when he's sentenced Oct. 9.

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