Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Drug Dealer's Sentence Cut He Sparked Probe of Police Corruption

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Drug Dealer's Sentence Cut He Sparked Probe of Police Corruption

Article excerpt

Byline: Jim Schoettler, Times-Union staff writer

The Jacksonville drug dealer who kicked off a probe of police corruption that ended with officers Aric Sinclair and Karl Waldon charged with murder and other crimes got eight years shaved off his prison term yesterday for cooperating.

But Abdul Robinson, whose help already got him the low end of a prison sentence on a drug conviction, angrily told U.S. District Judge Henry Lee Adams Jr. he deserved less than the 14 years he now must serve without parole. Robinson, 30, said the investigation would not have gone forward without his help and added that he put his family at risk by cooperating.

"It's my belief that if I would not [have cooperated] with the government, the Sheriff's Office individuals would still be out there robbing and murdering innocent civilians," Robinson said during the court hearing. "I should be justly rewarded."

Adams, citing Robinson's past as a drug dealer, dismissed his plea for a lighter sentence. Lead prosecutor Jim Klindt said the investigation would have gone on without Robinson and he doesn't intend to use him as a witness. Robinson's attorney, Mitch Stone, accepted the reduced sentence as the best available opportunity.

Robinson and two other men, Derrick Smith and Dondricka Bates, were arrested in August 1999 for selling crack cocaine. At the time, Sheriff Nat Glover called them among the most notorious drug dealers in the city.

All three men began cooperating with police, though Smith eventually stopped. A week after his arrest, Robinson told investigators that the group had been paying Sinclair as much as $2,000 a week for information about pending drug raids, the identity of a confidential informant and other police activity. Robinson also told investigators about Daryl Crowden, a drug dealer Robinson said introduced him to Sinclair.

Police eventually used Crowden to make secret tape recordings of Sinclair they said implicated him in a series of crimes, including a role in the July 1998 slaying of convenience store owner Sami Safar. Information from Crowden and others also led investigators to Waldon, who is charged in the Safar slaying. …

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