The L.A. Times reports that a former sheriff’s deputy has been sentenced to over 17 years for his part in a drug trafficking scheme. Kenneth Collins, 51, a former Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy, was sentenced Monday to more than 17 years in a federal prison for charging up to $250,000 to help protect large drug shipments that were transported out of California.

Collins pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to distribute methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana in August. He was arrested in January and left the department about a month later. Collins has also been ordered to pay $38,000 in restitution.

During his statements and testimony, Collins stated he ran teams of law enforcement officers and others who helped provide security for illegal marijuana grow operations and transports. He reached a plea agreement with prosecutors in exchange for his guilty plea.

Prior to his arrest, Collins had agreed to organizing a team for an undercover agent posing as a representative for a wealthy investor wanting to get involved with the trafficking operation. He was also recorded by the undercover agent saying he would intimidate and assault threatening people for cash.

Collins also showed the agent his badge and gun to prove he was connected to the local law enforcement. He later asked the agent for $25,000 cash to escort a shipment from Pasadena to Las Vegas. However, the methamphetamine in the shipment was fake.

While the transport was underway, Collins drove behind the transporting vehicle and another co-conspirator drove in front of it. Another person drove in the transporting vehicle with the undercover agent along for the ride.

Collins then tried to organize an even bigger shipment with the agent of meth and cocaine to take place in January. He demanded a fee of $250,000 for that job, but when he arrived on January 16 to carry it out he was arrested by FBI agents.

*photo credit Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times