Former Pennsylvania police chief resentenced in sting case

By Elizabeth Daley

PITTSBURGH, Pa. (Reuters) – A federal judge imposed a prison term of more than seven years on a former Pennsylvania police chief on Wednesday after an appeals court vacated his initial 11-year sentence for accepting money in exchange for helping FBI agents posing as drug traffickers.

Donald Solomon, formerly chief of police in East Washington, Pennsylvania, had pleaded guilty of extortion for agreeing to provide security and weapons while in uniform to people he thought were drug traffickers transporting kilograms of cocaine, according to court documents.

He also used his position to divert other officers from discovering the alleged shipment, telling an informant he was “the best cop that money could buy,” the documents said. He was paid $8,800 for his services.

U.S. District Court Justice Joy Conti resentenced him to a term of seven years and three months in prison, according to court officials, slicing a third off the initial sentence, imposed in June 2013.

In his appeal, Solomon contended he should not have been sentenced as if he committed a drug-related offense, as the drugs were fake and the quantity was determined at the discretion of FBI agents.

Even though the appeals court justices rejected that argument, they vacated his sentence based upon the use of a sentencing enhancement that they deemed inapplicable to his initial charges.

(Reporting by Frank McGurty; Editing by Bernard Orr)