HOUSTON -

A former Harris County sheriff's deputy has been sentenced to several years in prison for being the ringleader of a group of men who were ripping off drug dealers and reselling the narcotics for profit.

A federal judge ordered Richard Bryan Nutt, 45, to spend 46 months in prison. After he gets out, he'll spend the next year on supervised released.

According to court documents, Nutt wore his uniform while he robbed drug dealers.

Authorities said their investigation consisted of evidence spanning several months. But on Dec. 15, 2010, it all came down to a sting on Interstate 10 and Market Street. HPD had an undercover officer pretend to be a drug dealer with 4.5 pounds of cocaine in his car, officials said.

When the undercover officer pulled into a parking lot, he said he was met by Nutt and his crew, who police said robbed the decoy and then took the stash of drugs.

Seconds later, patrol cars stopped the car Nutt was in and officers arrested the 12-year veteran, who they said was armed and in uniform.