CHERRYVILLE, N.C. -- A former Cherryville police officer and a captain with Gaston County Sheriff's Office both received prison sentences Wednesday for their role in a pay for protection conspiracy, which allowed hundreds of thousands of dollars in stolen goods to roll through Gaston County.
A judge sentenced Frankie Dellinger to 36 months in prison and two years probation once he gets out.
Seven times Dellinger provided protection for trucks carrying stolen merchandise like televisions, generators and chain saws in exchange for cash payments.
Dellinger also recruited people to help him and gave a badge and a gun to an accomplice who was not in law enforcement.
Dellinger admitted his guilt and thanked prosecutors for saving his life, saying he did the crimes because he was in a dark place personally, professionally and financially.
Dellinger's relatives, including his father, did not want to answer questions after the sentencing.
Wesley Golden, a former captain in the Gaston County Sheriff's Office, took part in the pay for the protection of stolen goods three times.
He, too, apologized for his bad decisions. The judge sentenced him to 20 months.
Mark Hoyle was a Cherryville insurance agent who fell on hard times and pretended to be a cop in the protection conspiracy. He was the first one to cooperate with investigators.
He apologized to his country and his family. The judge sentenced him to 21 months.
Now-retired former Gaston County prosecutor Charles Randall spoke on Hoyle's behalf before the judge.
"Mark Hoyle to me is a good man, a man of trust. He got himself into some trouble," he said.
"I think Mr. Hoyle received a fair sentence, he admitted what he did. He came into court today to accept responsibility," said Hoyle's attorney Larry Hewitt.
All three have been in the Mecklenburg County Jail for the last 16 months. An FBI sting led to their arrests. Those months in jail will count as time served toward their sentences, Hewitt said.
Two other officers who took part in the protection racket have already been sentenced.