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EX-OFFICER SET TO TESTIFY ON POLICE, DRUGS TRIAL TO BEGIN IN LAST OF 5 CASES IN FBI PROBE

First, Harvey K. Robinson became a Buffalo police officer.

Then he became a drug user -- so desperate that he traded his gun, his police radio and, ultimately, his badge for $130 worth of cocaine.

Later, he became an informant for the FBI against his fellow officers, including some of his closest friends.

This week, he will become a government witness in a cocaine trial of one of them.

Robinson, 31, is expected to be the star witness for federal prosecutors the trial of Reginald Peete, 29, the last of five officers charged in the FBI's "Operation Bluecoat" undercover probe.

One officer already has been convicted, and three others have pleaded guilty to cocaine charges in the investigation. The federal government has disclosed in court papers that Robinson helped the FBI set up drug deals.

"Harvey Robinson assisted in the investigation and will be testifying as a government witness in this case," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephan Baczynski.

Before testifying against Peete on Tuesday, Robinson is scheduled to appear Monday before U.S. District Judge John T. Elfvin to plead guilty to attempted cocaine distribution.

The government will ask for a sentence of less than six months because of his cooperation, said Carol E. Heckman, his lawyer.

Robinson, an officer for six years, resigned from the police force last November. According to law enforcement officials, he agreed to help the FBI in the probe early last year after agents caught him supplying protection and transportation for a city drug dealer.

At that time, Robinson already was in trouble with the department because of his conviction in late 1988 on misdemeanor charges of possession of stolen property, petit larceny and falsely reporting an incident. An investigation by the Erie County district attorney's office showed Robinson traded his service revolver and radio to a drug dealer for $130 worth of cocaine.

Robinson helped agents by getting Peete and Jonathan McKelvin, a former partner, to bring him cocaine on May 20, 1989, the FBI said. Peete and McKelvin were on duty, in uniform and in their patrol car when they made the delivery, prosecutors say.

On June 4, McKelvin -- the godfather to one of Robinson's children -- pleaded guilty to cocaine distribution.

"Harvey Robinson played a significant role in the Bluecoat operation," U.S. Attorney Dennis C. Vacco said. "This is the way most successful drug investigations are made -- someone who runs afoul of the law rolls over and gives information that helps make the case."

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