Acting U.S. Attorney William D. Weinreb announced Friday a former Lawrence police officers was sentenced to 18 months in prison for extortion and attempted extortion under color of official right and through the use of threatened force and fear.Forty-five-year-old John R. Desantis Jr. of Methuen purchased cocaine once or twice a week from a dealer for about 12 months. He did so without identifying himself as a law enforcement officer, according to court documents.
During a drug deal on May 16, 2016, Desantis brandished his badge and gun, seized the cocaine and threatened to arrest the dealer, if he did not continue to provide him with drugs. From then on, Desantis would send the dealer threatening text messages. In one particular message, Desantis said, “You will not be arrested at all if you do as I tell you to.”