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Mike Perlstein / Eyewitness News
Email: mperlstein@wwltv.com | Twitter: @mperlstein

NEWORLEANS- A former New Orleans police officer pleaded guilty to a federal cocaine charge Tuesday, admitting that mounting debt led him to a hatch a scheme to steal several kilos of cocaine from drug dealers.

But instead of real cocaine, 7th district patrolman Jason Cross picked up fake drugs from a Metairie hotel room as part of an FBI sting. The January 10, 2013 sting came after Cross fell behind on his mortgage and contacted an out-of-town drug contact to steal $5,000 worth of cocaine, according to Cross' account in a court filing to support his guilty plea.

When authorities got wind of the plan, they contacted Cross' would-be conspirator and arranged for him to cooperate in the sting, according to the court document, known as a 'factual basis.'

Cross resigned in November as part of a plea deal. He faces up to 20 years in prison on one count of attempted possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. He is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Jane Triche Milazzo on March 27.

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