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Drug charges dropped against ex-deputy after third deadlock

May 22, 1997

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A judge dropped drug and conspiracy charges Wednesday against a former sheriff’s deputy after a third jury deadlocked in the case.

Superior Court Judge Robert Perry barred prosecutors from seeking a fourth trial against Rickey Ross.

``The judge said there comes a time when all these cases have to end,″ said defense attorney David Herriford. ``My feeling is this case could be tried 10, 15 times and it would come out the same.″

Ross and former Los Angeles Dodger Derrel Thomas were accused of trying to buy 22 pounds of cocaine from undercover agents in a parking lot near Los Angeles International Airport in 1992.

Thomas pleaded no contest to a felony drug charge and agreed to testify against Ross in exchange for a sentence of no more than three years.

Ross’ first jury deadlocked 9-3 in favor of acquittal, the second split 7-5 for conviction. Last week, a third panel divided 10-2 in favor of conviction.

Herriford argued that ``informants and snitches,″ rather than physical evidence, made up the prosecution’s case.

Ross, an 18-year law enforcement veteran, was accused of killing three prostitutes in 1989. Although the charges were dropped, Ross resigned from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

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