Former State Police officer Brian Homes was sentenced this morning to 14 years in prison for teaming up with a fellow officer in 2002 to skim cocaine from major drug seizures.
Holmes could be eligible for parole after three years, according to his lawyer, Hassen Abdellah.
As part of the sentence, Superior Court Judge James Heimlich in Union County barred Holmes from holding any public office, Abdellah said.
Holmes declined comment through his lawyer. His family members were present in court but made no statements. They had previously sent a "treasure trove" of letters to the judge attesting to Holmes' character and service to the community, Abdellah said.
A 14-year veteran of the State Police, Holmes was convicted of charges including official misconduct, drug possession and drug distribution. He was previously offered plea bargains that offered no jail time, but he rejected them.
He was implicated by his friend Moises Hernandez, 41, a state trooper for 17 years. Hernandez admitted he stole and sold kilos of cocaine, laundered money and got cozy with Colombian drug dealers, tipping them off when police investigators got close. He said Holmes, 42, was his investigative partner in two drug operations in August and October 2002.
Assistant Prosecutor Julie Peterman said Holmes had taken five of 56 kilos of cocaine from a drug seizure for Hernandez to sell and the pair shared the proceeds. But Holmes swore he knew nothing about any drug distribution ring.
Abdellah had pleaded with the jurors not to convict because there was a lack of evidence in the case against his client, saying Holmes' only liability came from the fact that he was friends with a corrupt cop. Hernandez and Holmes knew each other for years, and both lived in Elizabeth.
by Julie O'Connor
Friday January 23, 2009, 12:44 PM