A former Buffalo police officer testified in federal court Wednesday that he purchased cocaine from fellow officers "dozens of times."
Harvey Robinson, 31, said Officer Jonathan McKelvin, 30, his friend and former partner, sold him small quantities of cocaine on several occasions even before Robinson became an FBI informant early last year.
Robinson was a key witness for prosecutors on the second day of the trial of suspended Officer Reginald Peete, 29, the last of five officers charged in the FBI's "Operation Bluecoat" investigation.
McKelvin pleaded guilty earlier this month to distributing cocaine after he and his partner, Peete, were accused of delivering cocaine to Robinson while on duty in their patrol car.
Peete has pleaded innocent to charges that he distributed slightly less than a gram of cocaine while accompanying McKelvin in the patrol car. McKelvin testified earlier that he alone made the arrangements to deliver the cocaine to Robinson, without Peete's knowledge.
Jurors listened to tapes that prosecutors claimed were conversations involving Robinson, McKelvin and Peete, purportedly detailing a drug deal in May 1989.
But John Molloy, Peete's attorney, questioned the quality of the recording and the accuracy of the transcript prepared by Robinson and the FBI.
Robinson said he approached both McKelvin and Peete in their patrol car to see if they could get him some cocaine, and Peete said, "Yes, we could."
Molloy called Robinson an opportunist who "enjoyed" taking part in drug negotiations, then saved himself by turning on some of his closest friends.
An FBI agent posing as a drug dealer caught Robinson volunteering to help in delivery and protection for drug deals involving 10 ounces and 2.2 pounds of cocaine in March and April 1989, FBI Special Agent Kenneth Callahan said Monday.
Robinson testified the FBI gave him a choice of informing on some of his associates in the department or facing up to 20 years in prison.
"How long did it take you to decide?" Molloy asked.
"About an hour," Robinson said.