A former Kentucky sheriff has pleaded guilty to using his office to take kickbacks, distribute drugs and pay for personal expenses.

Fifty-one-year-old Basil Lawrence Hodge had been sheriff in Whitley County. He agreed Thursday to a 15 1/2-year federal prison sentence as part of the plea in U.S. District Court.

Hodge must also pay $50,000 to the federal government and an unspecified amount in restitution.

A state grand jury had indicted Hodge late last year on 18 counts of abuse of public trust and three counts of tampering with evidence related to allegations of missing funds and seized weapons.

Hodge was taken into custody pending sentencing Aug. 25.

He lost a re-election bid last May after two terms in the rural county on the Kentucky-Tennessee state line.