Former Greensburg Police Chief Pleads Guilty to Drug Conspiracy

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PITTSBURGH, PA — The former chief of police for Greensburg, Shawn Denning, 43, of Delmont, entered a guilty plea to charges of participating in a drug conspiracy. United States District Judge Cathy Bissoon oversaw the proceedings on Tuesday, marking a significant fall from grace for the one-time law enforcement leader.

Denning, who ascended the ranks from captain to chief within the Greensburg Police Department, admitted to conspiring with others to distribute significant quantities of methamphetamine and cocaine. According to his guilty plea, Denning engaged in these illegal activities both during his time in office and across various states including Georgia, Texas, and Oklahoma. His method of operation involved distributing methamphetamine under the guise of “Adderall” pills, a commonly prescribed medication for ADHD, thereby exploiting the trust placed in him by the public and his position of power.

The former police chief’s illicit operations extended to boasting about his connections with “heavy hitters” in the drug trade to a confidential source working with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Denning went so far as to provide drug menus and pricing, facilitate introductions to narcotics suppliers, and actively engage in the logistics of the drug transactions.

Further complicating the case is Denning’s conspiracy with former Greensburg Police Officer Regina McAtee, who acted both as a purchaser of drugs from the suppliers and as a personal source for Denning. McAtee faces her own set of charges and is scheduled to plead guilty in May 2024.

United States Attorney Eric G. Olshan emphasized the gravity of Denning’s betrayal, stating, “Instead of catching drug dealers, Shawn Denning chose to be one.” He reaffirmed the commitment of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and its law enforcement partners to holding corrupt public officials accountable for their actions.

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Sentencing for Denning is set for August 13, 2024, with the charges carrying a potential sentence of five to 40 years in prison, a fine of up to $5 million, or both. The final sentence will be determined based on the severity of the offenses and any previous criminal history.

Assistant United States Attorney Nicole Vasquez Schmitt is leading the prosecution, with the investigation into Denning’s actions being conducted by an array of federal agencies including the DEA, United States Postal Inspection Service, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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