Part-time Ambridge police officer accused of buying drugs while on duty, informing dealers of investigations
A part-time Ambridge police officer bought drugs while on duty and unmasked confidential informants to local drug dealers, the State Attorney General's Office said on Wednesday.
Andrew Wanto, 29, of Leet is charged with attempted drug possession, obstructing administration of law and hindering apprehension or prosecution. He remained free on $25,000 unsecured bond.
“He compromised undercover investigations and divulged information,” said Ambridge police Chief James Mann, who said he doesn't believe that anyone was injured as a result but that “several” investigations are compromised.
Wanto, while on duty and in an Ambridge police car on Tuesday, obtained an Oxycontin pill from a confidential informant working for the attorney general's office, according to a criminal complaint filed by Robert Gift, a special agent for the office.
Mann said information about Wanto's alleged drug activity first surfaced during an unrelated drug investigation nearly a month ago by police in Ambridge, Leetsdale and Harmony in Butler County.
Information was turned over to the Attorney General's Office, Mann said.
According to the complaint, confidential informants told investigators that Wanto had been buying drugs, including cocaine and pills, for several months, sometimes while in an Ambridge police cruiser.
Wanto admitted on Tuesday to making drug purchases and revealing information about investigations, Gift wrote. Mann said Wanto resigned before he was arrested at the Ambridge police station.
Mann said Wanto had an earlier back injury, “acknowledged he has a problem” and said he would go to drug rehabilitation.
He said Wanto had been working in Ambridge since December 2009. Mann said Wanto also worked full-time for the Leet road department and part time for Leet police, of which his father, Bill Wanto, is chief.
Bill Wanto could not be reached on Wednesday.
Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates analyst Kent Tekulve recovering after heart transplant
- Steelers veteran defenders want young teammates to step up
- New approach on offense has Pirates in playoff contention this season
- Liberty seeks sewage system purchase proposals
- Wheel separation incidents occasionally prove deadly; NTSB doesn’t track them
- War of words goes on at East Allegheny
- Pitt football coach Chryst refutes analyst Wannstedt’s opinion
- Steelers’ Brown combats disruptive defensive ploys
- Clairton banking on City Hall ATM machine
- Solicitor settles in at W. Oak
- Gambling ring trials continued