Former area law officer pleads guilty to crack cocaine charges

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

A former Southeast Missouri law enforcement officer pleaded guilty Monday in federal court to charges of distributing cocaine.

Timothy Collins, 37, appeared before U.S. District Judge E. Richard Webber in Cape Girardeau. He had previously been a New Madrid County deputy, chief of police in Howardsville, Mo., and an investigator for the New Madrid County prosecuting attorney's office.

The case was investigated by the Southeast Missouri Drug Task Force; the Dyersburg, Tenn., Police Department; the FBI; the Bootheel Drug Task Force; the New Madrid County prosecuting attorney's office; the New Madrid County Sheriff's Department; the Sikeston Department of Public Safety; the Missouri State Highway Patrol; the New Madrid Police Department; and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Assistant U.S. attorney Larry Ferrell handled the prosecution.

On Dec. 22, Collins sold 1.2 grams of cocaine base to an undercover law enforcement officer for $200 at "Jasmine's," a New Madrid nightclub owned and operated by Collins.

On May 3, federal and state agents executed a search warrant at the club and Collins was arrested. During the search, officers found a small amount of crack cocaine and numerous items of drug parapheranlia.

With his plea, Collins admitted, in addition to the Dec. 22 transaction, he has distributed between 150 and 500 grams of crack. He faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Following his plea, Collins was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending sentencing, which was set for Jan. 26.

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