MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) — A former Hialeah Gardens police officer has been sentenced to more than 12 years in federal prison for his role in a marijuana distribution ring.

The sentence was handed down Wednesday on Lawrence Perez, a former Hialeah Gardens police detective. Perez was convicted in May of conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute marijuana and attempting to possess with the intent to distribute marijuana.

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Trial testimony showed that Perez conducted two traffic stops in 2010 of people known to be transporting marijuana. A total of 24 pounds of marijuana was stolen by Perez and his co-conspirators during those stops.

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The group also planned to steal marijuana plants from a grow house in July 2010. But authorities learned of the plot and raided the house themselves, seizing 629 marijuana plants as well as packaged marijuana.

Evidence also showed that Perez used information he had access to as a law enforcement officer to aid and protect his co-conspirators.  On one occasion, Perez warned a co-conspirator that law enforcement was investigating him and that he should be careful.

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