Clerk in Allegheny County Sheriff’s office allegedly tipped off suspects to drug investigation
A federal grand jury on Tuesday indicted an Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office employee on charges of obstructing justice and making false statements to federal investigators, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
According to the indictment, Erika Romanowski, 40, worked as a clerk in the sheriff’s office and had access to law enforcement information, including information “related to ongoing federal investigations” with which the sheriff’s office assisted.
Sometime between February and April, Romanowski allegedly slipped information about an ongoing investigation to two of the targets of an investigation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
The indictment alleged that the two individuals were associates of Romanowski’s and involved in a large-scale investigation into a violent drug-trafficking organization working out of Pittsburgh’s West End neighborhood. One of the individuals was allegedly a senior member of the drug operation.
Romanowski allegedly tipped off the targets in an effort to help them avoid being caught, according to the release.
The indictment also alleged that during a June 20 interview with FBI agents, Romanowski repeatedly lied, denying she ever leaked the information.
“Every government employee with knowledge of a criminal investigation must maintain its confidentiality, whether or not they serve in a law enforcement capacity,” said U.S. Attorney Scott W. Brady. “Even more troubling, her actions could have jeopardized the safety of law enforcement officers. Corruption regardless of station will be prosecuted.”
According to the release, Romanowski faces up to 20 years in prison for the obstruction of justice charge and up to five years for lying to investigators.
Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 412-380-8519, [email protected] or via Twitter @meganguzaTrib.