A central New York woman is accused of sharing information she obtained as a grand juror with suspects in a large illegal drug investigation.
Jannis Danes, 54, of Minoa, has been indicted on the felony charge of unlawful grand jury disclosure. If convicted, she faces between 1 1/3 to 4 years in state prison.
Danes was selected as a grand juror for state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's "Operation Smackdown" investigation, a major drug bust targeting cocaine and heroin dealers operating in the Syracuse area.
"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," Schneiderman said in a statement. "My office will not tolerate those who weaken our justice system and put New Yorkers' safety at risk."
Danes, authorities said, knew several of the suspects in the Operation Smackdown investigation that led to 72 arrests. From April 11 to May 12, 2016, she allegedly shared details about evidence and testimony presented to the grand jury with two of the suspects, Julie A. Long and Jeff Meyers. Danes informed Long about other suspects named in the grand jury investigation.
The attorney general's office said Danes provided information from recorded phone calls and text messages that were presented to the grand jury. And she notified suspects that the grand jury's inquiry was nearing its conclusion — a revelation that led to Long moving out of state to avoid arrest.
Long was apprehended in South Carolina, authorities said.
Officials also revealed that Meyers relayed information he received from Danes to Tina Day. Day then informed Lori M. Raum she was a suspect in Operation Smackdown.
Disclosing information provided during grand jury testimony is a violation of New York state law.
The inquiry into Danes' alleged actions was conducted by the New York State Police Special Investigations Unit. The case is being prosecuted by Geoffrey Ciereck, an assistant deputy attorney general for Schneiderman's organized crime task force.
"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," State Police Superintendent George Beach said.