HOUSTON -

A pair of former Houston police officers pleaded guilty Friday to federal charges of conspiring to protect a shipment of cocaine.

Emerson Canizales, 26, and Michael Miceli, 26, were arrested in January following an undercover operation.

Officials with the US Attorney's Office said last December the pair agreed to accept $1,000 to use their HPD patrol car to provide protection for what they thought was a carload of cocaine being moved through Houston.

Both were charged with violations of the Hobbs Act, which covers extortion under the color of law.

Canizales and Miceli graduated from the same Houston Police Department Academy class in 2010.

The pair is scheduled to be sentenced on September 27 and face the possibility of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.