Former Lawrence Officer Faces Prison For Extorting Cocaine From Dealer

A former Massachusetts police officer has agreed to plead guilty to extorting cocaine from a drug dealer by threatening to arrest the man.

Federal prosecutors say 45-year-old John Desantis Jr., who served 16 years as a Lawrence officer, agreed to plead guilty Wednesday to extortion and attempted extortion under color of official right and through the use of threatened force and fear.

The Methuen resident faces 12 to 18 months in prison at sentencing on Nov. 17.

Prosecutors say Desantis bought small amounts of cocaine from the dealer for about a year without identifying himself as an officer. Then in May 2016, Desantis displayed his gun and badge, took cocaine and threatened to arrest the dealer if he did not continue to supply the drugs.

The dealer was a federal informant.


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