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Wife of Convicted DEA Agent Pleads Guilty to Tax Count : Courts: Barbara Jackson was indicted with her husband and two other federal officers in drug agency scandal. She made a deal with prosecutors.

September 11, 1990|RONALD L. SOBLE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Barbara Jackson, the wife of a former Drug Enforcement Administration agent, pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court to a charge of failing to file an income tax return in 1987. The plea was entered as part of a plea-bargain agreement linked to the agency's corruption scandal.

Jackson, 42, of Claremont, one of five people indicted in 1988, is the wife of former DEA agent John Jackson, who pleaded guilty last month to stealing cocaine and heroin from the agency's evidence vault in Los Angeles, drug trafficking and money laundering.

Barbara Jackson originally faced eight counts in the federal grand jury indictment, including money laundering and tax evasion, both felonies. However, under the agreement reached with the government last month, she pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor, failing to report about $28,000 in income for 1987. The maximum penalty is a $25,000 fine and one year in jail.

Jackson acknowledged to U.S. District Judge Terry J. Hatter Jr. that "I did not file them when I was supposed to file them."

A second DEA agent, Wayne Countryman, 47, of Walnut, has pleaded guilty to narcotics conspiracy and tax evasion.

A third agent, Darnell Garcia, 43, of Rancho Palos Verdes, is preparing for a jury trial, scheduled to begin Oct. 9. Garcia--who faces six counts, including drug trafficking--was a fugitive for seven months before he was arrested in Luxembourg in July, 1989.

The three former DEA agents were charged with distributing stolen narcotics to drug dealers, who then sold the cocaine and heroin on the street and returned the profits to the agents in Federal Express packages. The drug cash was then deposited in foreign bank accounts, according to the indictment.

The fifth defendant, Sherman Lair, 40, of Alta Loma, John Jackson's business associate, has pleaded guilty to participating in a narcotics conspiracy.

John Jackson, 41, faced 16 drug trafficking-related counts in the federal indictment, but under a sealed agreement with the government was allowed to plead guilty to three counts. He faces a maximum of 45 years in prison and fines of more than $4.5 million. Jackson's tentative sentencing date is Sept. 24.

Sources have said that if John Jackson cooperates with the government and testifies against Garcia, his maximum prison term could be capped at 15 years. As part of that agreement, his wife, could have her penalties dismissed, sources said.

Hatter told Barbara Jackson, as he told her husband, that he was not bound by any agreement between her and the government. Her sentencing was set for Oct. 29.

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