First Posted: 1/15/2009
RALEIGH - A former sheriff's deputy who faces a 12-count racketeering indictment is scheduled for a “change of plea” hearing next week in federal court, according to court documents.
Roger Hugh Taylor, 37, pled not guilty in February to allegations that included arson, assault, money laundering, stealing money seized during drug busts and satellite piracy.
Taylor's hearing is schedule for May 3, when he is expected to appear before U.S. District Court Judge Terrence Boyle at the Terry Sanford Federal Building in Raleigh.
Taylor was among the first of 16 former deputies charged as part of a federal investigation into corruption at the Robeson County Sheriff's Office dubbed Operation Tarnished Badge.
Taylor and two other former deputies, Steve Lovin and C.T. Strickland, were arrested in June 2006 by state and federal agents.
Fourteen former deputies, including Strickland, have pled guilty to felony crimes including conspiracy to commit money laundering, kidnapping, drug distribution, firearms violations and conspiracy to commit satellite piracy.
Lovin is expected to be tried in federal court in July.
Taylor, a former drug task force lieutenant and supervisor of the communications division, faces a racketeering indictment that dates back to crimes committed from 1996 until 2004. Taylor and Lovin used their employment at the Robeson County Sheriff's Office as an enterprise to commit crimes for financial benefit, the indictment says.
The indictment includes allegations of setting fire to two residences and one business. The indictments accuse Taylor and Lovin of providing marijuana and cocaine to confidential informants working for the sheriff's Drug Enforcement Division and providing someone marijuana as payment for arson.
Taylor began working for the Sheriff's Office in 1991. He was suspended after state authorities charged him with two felony counts of obstruction of justice in September 2003.
Lovin alone faces accusations that he stole in excess of $10,000 during each of six traffic stop drug seizures along Interstate 95 from October 2001 to April 2004. Lovin also is accused of arson and using stolen money to buy a Harley Davidson motorcycle and a Ford F-250 pickup.