Jannis Danes Allegedly Leaked Details To Suspects In Grand Jury Narcotics Investigation “Operation Smackdown,” Prompting One Suspect To Flee New York State.
New York, NY - October 11, 2017 - Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the arrest of former Onondaga County Grand Juror Jannis Danes, 54, of Minoa, New York, for allegedly leaking details to suspects involved in “Operation Smackdown,” a joint Attorney General - State Police investigation that resulted in the indictments of 72 people charged with operating two separate drug distribution rings in New York City, Syracuse, and Oswego County. Danes was arraigned this morning in Minoa Village Court on an indictment charging her with Unlawful Grand Jury Disclosure, a Class E Felony. If convicted, Danes faces up to 1 1/3 to 4 years in state prison.
“Jurors have a legal and moral obligation to maintain impartiality and discretion—and if they don’t uphold their responsibilities to our justice system, they must face the consequences,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “My office will not tolerate those who weaken our justice system and put New Yorkers’ safety at risk.”
State Police Superintendent George P. Beach said, “This arrest sends a clear message that anyone who seeks to interfere with the integrity of our criminal justice process and disrupt the prosecution of dangerous criminals will be held accountable and appropriately punished. I commend the astuteness of our New York State Police Special Investigations Unit and our law enforcement partners in identifying this individual and their intent to obstruct the criminal justice system.”
Prior to being selected as a juror for the Attorney General’s Operation Smackdown investigation, Danes had been instructed that Grand Jury proceedings are secretive and that disclosing the nature or substance of any grand jury testimony, evidence, or decision would be a violation of New York State law. However, Danes knew several of the suspects of the investigation and allegedly disclosed to them specific details and contents of grand jury testimony.
On or between April 11, 2016 and May 12, 2016, Danes is alleged to have disclosed to Julie A. Long and Jeff Meyers specific details of grand jury testimony and evidence presented in connection with Operation Smackdown. Danes allegedly told Julie Long, in the presence of Jeff Meyers, that Julie Long, Mark Spratt, and other mutual acquaintances were suspects in the grand jury investigation. Danes also allegedly shared details of recorded phone calls and captured text messages presented during the trial. Additionally, Danes is alleged to have informed the suspects that the grand jury presentation was near conclusion, prompting Long to move out of state to avoid apprehension by law enforcement.
Following Danes’ disclosure, Meyers repeated information provided to him by Danes about the grand jury testimony and evidence presented in connection with Operation Smackdown to Tina A. Day, who in turn told Lori M. Raum that she was also a suspect in the grand jury investigation.
Around May 12, 2016, the Onondaga County Grand Jury named Julie Long, Mark Spratt, Lori Raum, and others as defendants in connection with Operation Smackdown. Long was ultimately apprehended in South Carolina.
The case is being prosecuted by Organized Crime Task Force Assistant Deputy Attorney General Geoffrey Ciereck, under the supervision of Deputy Attorney General Peri Alyse Kadanoff, who runs the Organized Crime Task Force, and Upstate OCTF Deputy Chief Maria Moran.
The investigation was conducted by the New York State Police Special Investigations Unit.
Assisting in the investigation was OCTF Investigator Paul Pendergast, under the supervision of Supervising Investigator Thomas M. Wolf and Deputy Chief Eugene Black. The Attorney General’s Investigations Bureau is led by Chief Investigator Dominick Zarrella.
The charges against the defendants are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.