Pubdate: Wed, 09 Feb 2005
Source: Waco Tribune-Herald (TX)
Copyright: 2005 Waco-Tribune Herald
Author: Betsy Blaney, Associated Press
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Cocaine)
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


A West Texas district attorney accused of using drugs and illegally 
possessing guns resigned Tuesday then pleaded guilty to a weapons charge in 
a deal that dropped the drug charges and cut his prison time, a prosecutor 

Rick Roach, 55, entered the plea agreement in a n Amarillo federal court 
after resigning as district attorney for five Panhandle counties.

At the time of his Jan. 11 arrest at the Gray County Courthouse in Pampa, 
he was in court with two guns in his briefcase, prosecutors said. According 
to inventory lists from search warrants, there were drugs and more than 30 
weapons  semiautomatic handguns, rifles and shotguns  in his office and home.

"I felt this was the best count for him to plead to federally," prosecutor 
Christy Drake said.

Roach's attorney, Bill Kelly, said it was a good deal.

"I can't say we're satisfied, but it's certainly acceptable," he said.

Roach, who had just begun his second term, pleaded guilty to a charge of 
being an addict in possession of a firearm, Drake said.

He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The drug charges 
could have brought an additional 41 years and $2.25 million in fines. No 
sentencing date was set. Roach is free until sentencing.

The dropped charges were possession of methamphetamine, possession of 
cocaine with intent to deliver, and possession of methamphetamine with 
intent to deliver.

According to court documents, Roach admitted he was addicted to 
methamphetamine and that he started using it regularly several months 
before his arrest. He told the government witness that he first tried the 
drug after finding it in a seized vehicle, the court papers said.

Some in the counties he represented said they watched as Roach's behavior 
over the past several months grew increasingly erratic and aggressive. But 
few suspected drug use, even though the father of threes sons had dropped 
about 30 pounds and his skin became sallow.

His secretary, Rebecca Bailey, said in a petition seeking to remove Roach 
from office that she saw him use the drug.

Lynn  Switzer, the assistant district attorney who became acting DA upon 
Roach's resignation, said any decision on pursuing state charges will be 
made after Gov. Rick Perry makes a permanent appointment.

Mark Pinckard, spokesman for the Chief Disciplinary Council with the Texas 
State Bar, said the Board of Disciplinary Appeals will hear this case once 
federal paperwork on the conviction reaches the bar's office.

"They will determine whether to suspend him or disbar him," he said.

Roach was 11 days into his second four-year term as district attorney for 
Gray, Hemphill, Lipscomb, Roberts and Wheeler counties. When he first ran, 
Roach ran a tough-on-drugs campaign.
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