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COURT FINDS OFFICER GUILTY IN DRUG CASE CONVICTED OF COCAINE DISTRIBUTION

A U.S. District Court jury Thursday found suspended Buffalo police officer Reginald Peete guilty of distributing cocaine.

Peete was the last of five defendants to face prosecution in "Operation Bluecoat," an undercover drug investigation conducted by the FBI and U.S. attorney's office.

Before jurors began four hours of deliberations at about 2 p.m., they heard prosecutors admit that Harvey Robinson, an ex-police officer-turned FBI informant as well as a key witness in the case, was "no angel."

But, Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephan Baczynski told jurors, "The only way you're going to catch a bad cop is to use a bad cop." Baczynski said the government did its job by putting Robinson on the stand to testify against Peete, a former colleague of Robinson's who pleaded innocent to charges that he distributed slightly less than three-quarters of a gram of cocaine in May 1989.

Peete's attorney, John Molloy, branded Robinson's testimony a lie.

"(Robinson) would do whatever it takes to stay out of jail," Molloy said. "Harvey Robinson's sole concern in life is Harvey Robinson."

Robinson told the federal jury Wednesday that Peete knew that his partner, Officer Jonathan McKelvin, was delivering cocaine to Robinson while they were on duty in their patrol car.

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