Allegheny County sheriff’s clerk pleads guilty to tipping off suspects about drug probe
A former Allegheny County sheriff’s clerk pleaded guilty Wednesday to leaking secret police information to leaders of a drug-trafficking organization in Pittsburgh’s West End, according to U.S. Attorney Scott Brady’s office.
Erika Romanowski, 40, of Pittsburgh, pleaded guilty in federal court in Pittsburgh to one count of obstruction of justice.
Romanowski was accused of giving information to drug traffickers and lying to FBI agents when she was interviewed in June.
According to court records, Romanowski called one drug suspect to tell him to “stay home” because police and agents would be conducting a raid.
In another phone call, court records said, Romanowski telephoned a drug suspect to say she “just heard they are hitting houses over there (West End) … the feds called for backup.” Later that day, she called the man to say she wasn’t at work so she couldn’t hear the police radio about what was going on, prosecutors said.
“Every government employee with knowledge of a criminal investigation must maintain its confidentiality, whether or not they serve in a law enforcement capacity,” Brady said after Romanowski’s arrest. “Even more troubling, her actions could have jeopardized the safety of law enforcement officers. Corruption regardless of station will be prosecuted.”
U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab scheduled sentencing for March 18.
Romanowski faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine.