A Pennsylvania police chief accused of serving to to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine and different narcotics faces 20 years in jail, federal prosecutors announced Wednesday.
If convicted, Greensburg, Pennsylvania, police chief Shawn Denning, 41, additionally faces a $1 million high quality. Denning faces six whole counts of drug distribution associated expenses and prosecutors mentioned the crimes occurred throughout a 16-month interval, from June 2021 to Oct. 2022.
Greensburg Mayor Robert Bell advised USA TODAY Wednesday that Denning “was no longer with” the town in gentle of the costs. Greensburg is a town of about 15,000 residents in western Pennsylvania. Its police department has 27 officers.
Possible trigger affidavit reveals particulars
Drug Enforcement Administration investigators mentioned they used an informant to gather proof towards Denning. The informant had prior convictions and confronted potential federal drug expenses in an unrelated investigation and cooperated with the DEA in hopes of receiving a extra lenient sentence, according to the affidavit.
The informant first met Denning in summer time 2021, when Denning was nonetheless a Captain, based on the affidavit. Denning advised the informant he knew sellers in California who may ship him medicine.
Affidavit offers timeline of alleged crimes
- From June 2021 to Oct. 2022, Denning served as a intermediary who facilitated the informants’ buy of huge portions of medication by connecting him with a number of suppliers for whom he vouched.
- The informant advised Denning he knew he was a police officer, however heard he may assist him discover medicine.
- Denning had the informant message him on Wickr as a result of “It’s how all the heavy hitters conduct business it’s encrypted so virtually impossible to be intercepted ever,” based on the affidavit.
- In Nov. 2021, Denning linked the informant with a cocaine supplier. The informant in the end bought 1 / 4 ounce of cocaine for $450, which he despatched the supplier by way of Venmo.
- The informant requested Denning who would “take care” (pay) of him. Denning responded “I don’t sell anything man I just know folks is all. Dude will handle it all he’s trustworthy.”
- The cocaine was despatched to the informant by way of mail. When the package deal was delayed at one level, Denning checked on its standing for the informant.
- The informant purchased one other ounce of cocaine from the identical supplier in Feb. 2022.
- From Could to July 2022, Denning linked the informant to suppliers for different medicine akin to Adderall and ecstasy, and helped look into any delays or cling ups the informant bumped into when buying from the sellers. At one level, Denning despatched a photograph of a menu of medication a supplier he knew supplied.
- When a $500 cargo of Adderall by no means arrived from one of many sellers, Denning met with the informant in individual at a cornhole match in October, and gave him a set of cornhole luggage to make up for “bad business.”
Conspiracy to distribute
Prosecutors cost Denning with 5 counts of “aiding and abetting” the distribution of narcotics, and a sixth rely of “conspiracy to possess with the intention to distribute” narcotics. Though Denning by no means straight bought medicine to the informant, prosecutors mentioned the totality of his actions amounted to conspiracy.
In accordance with the affidavit, Denning:
- Linked the informant to suppliers.
- Despatched menus and product costs to the informant.
- Stated he had linked different folks to suppliers.
- Checked the standing of at the very least one of many deliveries for the informant.
- Checked on high quality of product after it was obtained.
- Despatched cash to suppliers.
- Supplied cornhole luggage to the informant as compensation after a deal fell by.
- Was advised a number of instances by the informant that he supposed to distribute the medicine he purchased to different folks.
Ex-chief was a Marine
Denning turned chief in March, the Pittsburgh-Tribune Review reported. He had been with the division since 2008, and beforehand served 4 years as Marine earlier than a stint with the New York Police Division, based on the Pittsburgh-Tribune Assessment.
A lawyer for Denning was not listed in a court docket database Wednesday. A message despatched by USA TODAY to Denning’s work electronic mail was not returned.
Denning was launched on $250,000 bail Tuesday, court docket paperwork present.
In accordance with the Pittsburgh-Tribune Assessment, on the day the Denning took his oath as chief he mentioned “I’ve the utmost respect for the title of chief of police…I’ve nice expectations of myself.”
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