Ex-Montco detective convicted of drug dealing

Posted: July 28, 2013

A retired Norristown detective sergeant who has been convicted of drug dealing likely will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Jack Pennington, 67, of King of Prussia, was found guilty Thursday of multiple counts of delivery of a controlled substance and possession with intent to deliver - offenses that carry a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 19 years to be served along with time from other charges, according to prosecutors.

"He is looking at year upon year, decade upon decade, in prison," Nathan Schadler, Montgomery County assistant district attorney, said Friday.

Pennington's attorney already is planning to appeal the case once the sentence is handed down.

"I believe there is reversible error in the case based on the fact the court allowed the prosecution to file amended charges against the defendant after the trial had already commenced," said John I. McMahon Jr., referring to weapons charges.

In June 2012, detectives followed the 27-year police veteran as he drove his 2006 Cadillac, with a Fraternal Order of Police license plate, to Plymouth Meeting Mall, where he met with his methamphetamine supplier. When they arrested him, police found a paper bag with $6,961 in cash, and three ounces of crystal meth worth $17,000. An additional $9,470 in cash was found with Pennington.

In Pennington's car was a loaded handgun, three cellphones, two digital scales, bags used for drug packaging, and $1,505 in cash.

During the investigation, which took about three months, police wiretapped Pennington's calls. They recorded 18 in a six-hour period that involved setting up meetings with drug buyers.

"Everyone he sold to, and who sold to him, has been charged," said Schadler. Many of the dealers and buyers testified during the four-day trial, he said.

"Mr. Pennington is truly the scariest of all criminals - a wolf in sheep's clothing," said Schadler. "He wrapped himself in this cloak of decency, but under it, he was using it to deal meth and pills."

Schadler said the former officer, who retired more than 20 years ago, also peddled Percocet - a powerful and addictive painkiller. He said the damage to the community caused by the two drugs was immense.

"It was a great feeling," said Schadler, "to see him led away in handcuffs."

Contact Mari A. Schaefer at 610-313-8111 or mschaefer@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @MariSchaefer.

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