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Pennsylvania Police Chief Charged With Helping Distribute Cocaine

A Pennsylvania police chief was accused by federal officials of helping to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine, and other narcotics. Greensburg, Pa., chief Shawn Denning, 41, six counts of drug distribution-related charges that prosecutors said occurred during a 16-month period, from June 2021 to Oct. 2022, reports USA Today. Greensburg Mayor Robert Bell said Wednesday that Denning “was no longer with” the city in light of the charges. Greensburg is a town of about 15,000 in western Pennsylvania. Its police department has 27 officers. Drug Enforcement Administration investigators said they used an informant to collect evidence against Denning. The informant had prior convictions and faced potential federal drug charges in an unrelated investigation and cooperated with the DEA in hopes of receiving a more lenient sentence. The informant first met Denning in the summer of 2021, when Denning was still a captain. Denning told the informant he knew dealers in California who could send him drugs.

From June 2021 to Oct. 2022, Denning allegedly served as a middleman who facilitated the informants’ purchase of large quantities of drugs by connecting him with multiple suppliers for whom he vouched. The informant told Denning he knew he was a police officer, but heard he could help him find drugs. Prosecutors charged Denning with five counts of “aiding and abetting” the distribution of narcotics, and a sixth count of “conspiracy to possess with the intention to distribute” narcotics. Although Denning never directly sold drugs to the informant, prosecutors said the totality of his actions amounted to conspiracy. According to an affidavit, Dennings connected the informant to suppliers, sent menus and product prices to the informant, and checked on the quality of the product after it was received. He also sent money to the suppliers and was aware of the intent as he was told multiple times by the informant that he intended to distribute the drugs he bought to other people. Denning became chief in March reported. He had been with the department since 2008 and previously served four years as a Marine before a stint with the New York Police Department, according to the Pittsburgh-Tribune Review.


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