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STANCE ON ILLEGAL DRUGS CATCHES UP WITH JUDGE

A county judge who favored legalizing drugs was indicted on cocaine charges after offering the drug to an undercover federal agent.

Judge Michael Gallagher could face 68 years in prison and a $3 million fine if convicted on all five counts. Gallagher, 39, was put on an indefinite paid leave of absence.Gallagher, a Republican, said after his 1990 election that he favored legalizing drugs but would follow state guidelines on mandatory sentences. He made the comments after granting early probation to a teacher who had been sentenced to 18 months in prison on a drug charge.

The judge was arrested Aug. 4 after he showed an undercover Drug Enforcement Agent two lines of cocaine inside a jewelry box and rolled a bill of paper money for use in inhaling one of the lines, Assistant U.S. Attorney William Edwards said.