GREENSBURG, Pa. (KDKA) — The former Greensburg police chief is facing more charges after an audit of the evidence room.
Shawn Denning was arrested at the end of January on federal drug charges for allegedly orchestrating a series of drug deals. After his indictment, the Westmoreland County district attorney said police requested an audit of the evidence room “to preserve the integrity and credibility of department investigations.”
An audit in February of the evidence room and a separate storage space designated for the destruction of evidence turned up “a backpack containing a various number of illegal steroids and suspected psilocybin mushrooms missing,” the district attorney said.
The backpack was part of a drug case Denning was investigating and the case had been classified as previously closed, the district attorney said. The backpack was slated for destruction but was never actually destroyed and the district attorney said detectives couldn’t find its contents.
As chief, the district attorney said Denning had access to the evidence room and the destruction of evidence.
Westmoreland County detectives are now filing charges of theft by unlawful taking or disposition, tampering with or fabricating physical evidence and tampering with public records or information.
In the federal case, Denning was charged with two counts of aiding and abetting the distribution of cocaine, two counts of aiding and abetting the distribution of methamphetamine, one count of aiding and abetting the attempted distribution of methamphetamine and one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute drugs.
According to court documents from the Department of Justice, Denning was allegedly first involved in having conversations with a confidential informant in 2021. That confidential informant was working with the DEA as part of the investigation.
Paperwork alleged Denning would facilitate getting drugs and connect the informant with them for distribution over a 16-month period. Authorities said some drugs were sourced in California and Arizona and then delivered to the informant through the mail.
Authorities said Denning worked with at least three sources to distribute drugs, even sending what they called menus, listing products and prices.