Pubdate: Thu, 02 Jun 2005
Source: Ft. Worth Star-Telegram (TX)
Contact:  2005 Star-Telegram, Fort Worth, Texas
Author: Betsy Blaney, Associated Press
Bookmark: (Corruption - United States)
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Cocaine)
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


AMARILLO - A former district attorney who was elected on a
tough-on-drugs campaign was sentenced Wednesday to five years in
federal prison for a drug-related firearms charge.

Rick Roach, 55, had pleaded guilty in exchange for dismissal of
cocaine and methamphetamine possession charges. He had two handguns in
his briefcase at the Gray County Courthouse in Pampa when he was
arrested in January.

The judge Wednesday added 14 months to the recommended sentence called
for in federal guidelines because of Roach's position as district
attorney for five Texas Panhandle counties.

"The guidelines do not adequately address the extent to which you have
betrayed the public trust," Judge Mary Lou Robinson said. She said his
behavior was "out of bounds and at times seriously

Roach, who campaigned heavily against drugs in 2000 and was 11 days
into his second four-year term when he was arrested, apologized
Wednesday before Robinson announced his sentence.

"Obviously I'm extremely sorry for what I've done," he said. "I
recognize that I used very poor judgment in everything I've done. What
makes it onerous is that I was a public official."

And he asked the court to consider the positive things he

"I also feel I did a lot of good things; in the time I have left, I
ask that I be allowed to make amends and spend time with my boys,"
said Roach, who has three sons.

Roach, who still faces state drug charges, declined to comment as a
U.S. marshal led him from the courtroom.

On the day of his arrest, a search of Roach's courthouse office, home
and an apartment turned up 35 additional guns, along with what
appeared to be a stash of cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana,
according to search warrant inventory lists.

The weapons -- including shotguns, revolvers, semiautomatic pistols
and rifles -- were not part of the firearms charge.

Roach was initially charged on four federal counts that accused him of
possessing methamphetamine, possession of cocaine and methamphetamine
with intent to deliver, and the unlawful possession of a firearm by a
drug addict.

Roach pleaded guilty to the firearms charge in February and signed a
court document admitting he was an addict.

The maximum he could have faced on the firearms charge was 10 years in
prison and a $250,000 fine. A sentencing report completed since the
plea recommended between 37 and 46 months.

"This was a hard case to determine," Roach's attorney, Bill Kelly,
said after the sentencing. "A lot of people thought it would be 10
years, and for that we're thankful. I was hoping and thought it should
be less."

The federal drug charges, all of which were dropped in the plea deal,
could have brought an additional 41 years in prison and $2.25 million
in fines.

Last month, a grand jury in Gray County indicted Roach on state
charges of possession of methamphetamine and cocaine with intent to
deliver. He faces 10 to 99 years or life on each of two felony
charges. A trial date has not been set.

An audit of the finances of Roach's office, particularly accounts
containing money seized in drug busts, continues and could result in
additional state charges, said David Scott, a special prosecutor
assigned to determine if Roach violated state laws. 
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