Ex-Westmoreland County sheriff's deputy caught with heroin pleads guilty to possession charge

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Two drug charges against a former Westmoreland County sheriff's deputy accused of having heroin in the East Liberty Target parking lot in April were withdrawn Wednesday, the Allegheny County district attorney's office said.

Erika Ditch, 24, of Greensburg was arrested April 3 and charged with possession with intent to deliver, a felony, and misdemeanor charges of possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a controlled substance.

She and her partner who was also charged pleaded to the latter charge and the district attorney's office withdrew the other two.

"There was no evidence that there was intent to deliver the drugs and all the evidence pointed to her and her partner being users only," spokesman Mike Manko said in an email.

Ms. Ditch and Leeann Wechtenhiser, 24, of Derry, were arrested in April after detectives from the city's Zone 5 station said they watched as the two pulled into the Target parking lot in East Liberty in a pickup and sat there for several hours.

Police wrote in a complaint that they found the two with heroin and needles.

Both have been placed in a probation-without-verdict program and ordered to go to rehab. If they complete the program, their records can be expunged.

Ms. Ditch presented evidence Wednesday showing she is already in rehab, according to the district attorney's office.

Following her arrest, Ms. Ditch was suspended without pay and then resigned, Westmoreland County Sheriff Jonathan Held said.

"We, as an organization, and myself included, wish her the best in her recovery," he said today.

Ms. Ditch's attorney did not return messages.

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Molly Born: mborn@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1944 and on Twitter: @borntolede.


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