The Associated Press

HOLLY SPRINGS - A Holly Springs alderman, school board member and former police officer have been indicted by a federal grand jury on conspiracy charges.

Alderman Robert D. Burke, 40, former police officer Gary L. Pegues, 28, and school board member Albert Sims, 42, were included in an indictment the federal court released last week.

The South Reporter newspaper in Holly Springs reported Thursday that the three made an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Aberdeen on Sept. 10 and were each released on a $25,000 bond.

The indictment lists six counts, but Burke, Pegues and Sims are not all included in each count.

The indictment charges that from Oct. 31, 2000, until on or about Dec. 20, 2001, the men conspired to aid and abet the distribution of controlled substances, specifically in excess of five kilograms of cocaine.

According to the indictment, the men agreed not to enforce drug laws and permitted and protected the distribution of drugs in and through Marshall County in exchange for cash payoffs from drug traffickers.

The indictment also alleges that Burke and Sims on or about July 6, 2001 did knowingly and willfully attempt to commit extortion and are accused of obtaining about $1,300 in cash from an undercover witness to allow transportation and distribution of cocaine through Marshall County.

Burke is serving his third term on the Holly Springs Board of Alderman and serves as mayor pro tem in the mayor's absence.

City records show Pegues was employed during two different time periods as a police officer.

Sims was elected in March 2002 to his first five-year term as a member of the Holly Springs School District Board of Trustees.

Penalties on the conspiracy charges could include a maximum life in prison sentence, a maximum $4 million fine, and a maximum of 10 years supervised release.

Penalties on the other charges are a maximum 20 years in prison, a maximum $250,000 fine, and a maximum three years supervised release.

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