A former Essex County sheriff's officer is headed to federal prison for laundering money he believed were the proceeds of drug trafficking.

Chris Ryan, Getty Images

Eric Hawkins received a two-year sentence and was fined $10,000 on Wednesday. The 44-year-old Union resident also must serve three years of supervised release once he's freed from prison.

When he pleaded guilty in September 2011, Hawkins admitted to laundering the money through Urban Community Unification, a nonprofit business he owned.

Hawkins accepted several thousand dollars on three separate occasions from an undercover law enforcement officer pretending to be a broker who laundered cash for a drug dealer. Hawkins then laundered the money in return for a five percent fee.


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