Former Sheriff Appeals Sentence

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BROWNSVILLE, Texas (AP) - Former Cameron County Sheriff Conrado Cantu is asking a federal court to overturn his 24-year prison sentence.

Cantu alleges that the U.S. Attorney's Office reneged on an oral promise of 14 years in prison, with the possibility of reduced time for good behavior. He also alleges he had ineffective counsel.

The Brownsville Herald reports that Cantu is representing himself this time.

He was county sheriff from January 2001 until December 2004.

In 2005, he acknowledged being the ringleader of a criminal enterprise that took thousands of dollars from drug traffickers and illegal gambling den owners. The money was in exchange for information and "protection" from upcoming investigations and raids. His four-year term was marked by allegations of corruption along with a series of jail escapes and missing inmate funds.

He eventually pleaded guilty to heading a criminal enterprise engaged in extortion, drug trafficking, obstruction of state and local law enforcement efforts, witness tampering and bribery.