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Federal drug defendants offer guilty pleas

ALBANY -- Two federal drug defendants charged in separate incidents both made 11th-hour pleas Monday as their juries were being selected, court officials say.

Jerome Fletcher, who was arrested after being videotaped by Jeffrey Boyd setting up and implementing drug buys, agreed to plead guilty to one count of manufacturing and distributing crack cocaine Monday.

Although a sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled, prosecutors said during an evidentiary hearing last week that they had offered Fletcher a maximum of 27 years in prison in exchange for pleading guilty.

Fletcher was also accused of using his 13-year-old nephew to facilitate a drug buy with Boyd, but that count, under the agreement, was dropped.

During a video showed in court Friday, Boyd and Fletcher both spoke of people who were involved in a major marijuana growing operation in Lee County and Terrell County that was first discovered in 2007.

Sources familiar with the investigation say that Fletcher's arrest is part of an ongoing investigation examining possible public corruption that was initially discovered during the marijuana investigation.

Boyd and his son Brandon, were arrested by U.S. Marshal's Thursday in Alabama. Brandon, who documents show had a quantity of marijuana on him, will likely be charged with hampering the prosecution of a fugitive and drug charges, while the charges against Jeffrey Boyd remain secret under federal seal.

The second plea came later in the day Monday when Travis Robinson pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a drug buy involving one kilogram of cocaine.

Robinson argued Friday during a court hearing that he intended to buy

the cocaine from the undercover agent, saying instead that he thought he was buying marijuana.

Sentencing for Robinson also will come following a hearing yet to be

set.