(CBS/AP) BALTIMORE - Felicia "Snoop" Pearson, the actress who played an assassin for a Baltimore drug gang on HBO's "The Wire" has pleaded guilty in a drug conspiracy case.
Pearson, 31, entered the plea to conspiracy to distribute heroin Monday, a day before her trial was set to begin. She was sentenced to three years supervised probation.
Pearson was one of 64 people charged in March in "Operation Usual Suspects," a joint state-federal prosecution of an alleged east Baltimore drug gang. Sheduring a series of early-morning raids conducted by agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration, Baltimore police and other law enforcement authorities.
The federal indictment states that since 2008, members of the conspiracy bought heroin from New York and marijuana from California and sold the drugs on the streets of Baltimore. As part of the conspiracy, the indictment alleges, members discussed how those who failed to perform required tasks were dealt with violently.
Pearson's lawyer says she didn't play a significant role in the alleged conspiracy. But attorney Benjamin C. Sutley says she decided to enter the plea to rid herself of the burden of dealing with the charges.
"More than anything she wanted to close this matter and move on," the attorney said.
He added that Pearson was familiar with some people involved in the wider case - not necessarily her co-defendants - who helped take care of Pearson when she was a teen.
"She learned a valuable lesson about how some loyalties you keep and others drag you down," Sutley said.
"The Wire," which ran from 2002 to 2008, was filmed in Baltimore and put a spotlight on the city's struggle with poverty and drug violence through the stories of the city's police, drug organizations, schools, politicians and media. Pearson's character, also nicknamed "Snoop," kills off several people for the fictitious Stanfield drug gang on the series.
Pearson had a troubled past before being cast on "The Wire." She was convicted of second-degree murder in a slaying committed when she was 14. She served five years of an eight-year sentence and was released in 2000. Pearson was arrested on a minor drug charge in 2008 when police went to her home to pick her up for refusing to cooperate as a witness in a murder trial. She was found not guilty.