Ex-Cook County sheriff's deputy pleads guilty to drug rip-off

Flickr | Beth Cortez-Neavel

CHICAGO (STMW) - A former Cook County sheriff’s police officer admitted in federal court Wednesday that he stole marijuana from a man he believed to be a drug dealer so that he could later sell the drugs for profit, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

The drug dealer was in fact an undercover FBI agent.

Now, Robert Vaughan, 44, faces a maximum of 20 years in prison after his guilty plea to robbery before U.S. District Court Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan.

Vaughan and his partner, Stanley M. Kogut, were partners and members of a federal anti-drug task force. They were arrested in November 2014, after prosecutors said they ripped off an undercover FBI agent posing as a drug dealer. About 70 pounds of marijuana was stolen from the agent.

In court, a soft-spoken Vaughan admitted he approached the undercover agent, “with the intent to seize marijuana for the purpose of sale to profit for ourselves,”

Before Vaughan’s plea, Der-Yeghiayan asked the former police officer a number of questions about his mental health, including whether he’s taking any medications.

Vaughan said he’s taking anti-depressants and blood pressure pills — medication he began taking after he was arrested.

Shortly after the arrests, Vaughan’s partner hanged himself in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center. Vaughan was later found crying in his cell, and another federal judge who initially handled the drug theft case said he was “very concerned” about Vaughan’s mental state.