NEW YORK (AP) — A former New York City police officer has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for moonlighting in the drug trade.

The New York Times (http://nyti.ms/2w34JFz ) says Merlin Alston started driving his friend to cocaine transactions in 2010 then branched out.

Investigators say he carried his police gun to drug deals, tipped off his friend to law enforcement raids and flashed his badge to keep other officers away. They say he also served as an armed bodyguard and lookout.

Acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim said Alston "betrayed his city and his shield."

The friend, who has not yet gone to trial, testified that Alston helped transport cocaine, ecstasy and other drugs about 30 times. He said the deals totaled about 90 pounds of cocaine.

Alston said the dealer lied.

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Information from: The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com