WILKES-BARRE — A former Dupont police officer was convicted this week of charges he accepted prescription painkillers in exchange for letting a reputed drug dealer off the hook during a traffic stop.
Kenneth Shotwell, 46, of Duryea, was convicted Tuesday on charges of bribery, official oppression and obstructing justice after a little over an hour of deliberation.
Following the jury’s verdict, Luzerne County Judge Joseph Sklarosky Jr. allowed Shotwell to remain free on his own recognizance until his April 26 sentencing, according to court documents. Additionally, Shotwell was ordered not to have employment as a police officer.
According to the affidavit:
Shotwell conducted a traffic stop in March 2013 in Dupont on William Tucker, who was operating a uninspected vehicle without a valid driver’s license. At some point during the traffic stop, Tucker placed a call to Robert Evans, a Hughestown police officer who had received oxycodone pills from Tucker.
Evans arrived at the scene and persuaded Shotwell to let Tucker off the hook in exchange for pills. Tucker then gave pills to Evans, who turned them over to Shotwell in exchange for letting Tucker leave the scene without a citation.
Evans, 40, of Moosic, was arrested by the FBI in August 2013; he soon after confessed to acting as the middle man between Shotwell and Tucker on numerous drug deals involving the pills, including during the traffic stop with Tucker.
Shotwell later acknowledged the incident and admitted he had bought the pills from Tucker or Evans at least 20 times. Both Evans and Shotwell confessed to buying the pills from Tucker while on duty in full uniform.
Evans was sentenced in July 2014 to 30 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to selling oxycodone between 2012 and 2013.
Shotwell was allegedly also with Evans when the latter used a knife to break into the desk of a police sergeant at the Dupont Police Department. Once inside, the pair allegedly stole prescription pills that had been collected as part of a drug take-back program, police said.
Those charges were withdrawn in lower court.
Reach Joe Dolinsky at 570-991-6110 or on Twitter @JoeDolinskyTL