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Feds offer accused officers plea deals

Former Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Officers Gerald Holas Jr. and Jason Ross, charged with conspiring to distribute crack cocaine, have apparently cut deals with federal prosecutors.

The two former officers are scheduled to appear in federal court today for plea agreement hearings.

Ross' attorney, Chris Fialko, and Holas' attorney, Tony Scheer, declined comment Tuesday.

Ross and Holas, both 35, were arrested last month and charged with conspiring to possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of crack cocaine. It carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum life sentence.

The two officers, who have resigned, are accused of conspiring with suspected drug dealer David Lockhart. Lockhart, 25, has been charged with conspiracy as well as with possessing with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of crack cocaine.

The two officers and Lockhart are being held without bond in the Mecklenburg County jail.

The investigation began about six months ago, after a confidential source informed the FBI that Lockhart was involved in distributing cocaine and that at least two CMPD officers knew about it and were protecting him, according to an affidavit. The source told the FBI that Lockhart had been in contact with the officers since July 2007.

Holas and Ross have admitted to authorities that they protected Lockhart's cocaine distribution. But they say they did so in exchange for information they could use to arrest his suppliers and customers, according to the affidavit. The officers also admitted participating in a number of acts to further Lockhart's drug distribution, the court document says.

Lockhart has admitted that he moved large quantities of cocaine with others, the affidavit says. He confirmed the officers' account that he would get their protection in exchange for information that would help in arresting others.

Mecklenburg District Attorney Peter Gilchrist has said his office plans to dismiss any pending cases in which Holas or Ross played a crucial role. Gilchrist has assembled a group to review the cases and determine which ones should be thrown out.