Suspect-framing trial to begin for Ohio drug agent

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CLEVELAND (AP) — A federal drug agent is going on trial in Cleveland on charges of helping to frame 17 people in undercover drug sales made by a rogue informant.

Agent Lee Lucas has spent 19 years chasing drug traffickers for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

His trial starts Wednesday with jury selection. Its outcome could influence the way agents handle informants and defense attorneys challenge their work.

Lucas faces 18 charges including obstruction of justice and perjury.

The government dropped charges that came from tips provided by his informant. Before that, one person had been convicted and served about 16 months of a 10-year sentence.

Lucas says any errors in his trial testimony or drug surveillance reports were innocent and not intended to frame anyone. His informant is serving 15 years in prison.