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Former Port Richey police sergeant sentenced to 3 years in drug deal

PORT RICHEY — The former Port Richey police sergeant who sold oxycodone to a federal informant was sentenced Thursday morning to three years in prison.

James Ruland, 33, sold more than 1,000 prescription painkillers while on duty from his Newhope Road home in a Spring Hill suburb, drug enforcement agents said.

The informant paid Ruland a $5,000 down payment and agreed to return with more money after unloading the pills to buyers. Ruland was arrested by U.S. Marshals the next day.

Ruland, facing a maximum $1 million fine and 20 years behind bars, agreed to plead guilty in July to distribution of oxycodone. He was sentenced in federal court to 37 months in prison and three more years of supervised release, during which his probation officer could conduct random drug tests.

Ruland worked for the 12-officer Port Richey force for eight years, rising through the ranks as a detective and chief investigator of internal affairs complaints. In 2006, he won the agency's Exceptional Service Award for tracking a Colorado fugitive. He was fired after his arrest.

Contact Drew Harwell at dharwell@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4170.

Former Port Richey police sergeant sentenced to 3 years in drug deal 10/28/10 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 8:52pm]
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