A court in the Dominican Republic has sentenced a former chief of the police force's anti-drug unit to 20 years in prison.

Attorney General Jean Alain Rodriguez on Thursday called the conviction and sentencing of Carlos Fernandez Valerio, five subordinates and two prosecutors a sign that "the law is equal for everyone, even for actors in the justice system." 

Fernandez and the seven others had been jailed since January 2015. They were accused of stealing 950 kilograms (about 2,095 pounds) of cocaine found in a September 2014 raid on a drug dealer's property.

A three-judge panel announced the sentencing penalties Wednesday night following a year of hearings.

Fernandez has insisted he is innocent of any wrongdoing. Defense lawyer Thomas Castro says he will soon file an appeal.