Niagara Falls Police Officer Stephanie A. Costanzo suspected her boyfriend was selling drugs but didn't want to believe it, according to court papers.
Costanzo, 28, who was arrested on drug charges last month, now faces a new federal drug conspiracy charge with two others, Raymond C. Hopson and Lindsay R. Carrier Jr.
In the complaint against the three defendants, a Niagara Falls Police detective says Costanzo admitted accompanying Hopson two or three times a week while he picked up money.
She also admitted carrying a 38-caliber semi-automatic pistol in her purse while traveling with Hopson, according to an affidavit signed by the detective.
"Costanzo was asked why she never confronted him with what he was doing, especially because she is a police officer," the detective said in his statement. "Costanzo stated she didn't want to believe he was selling drugs."
The complaint also claims Costanzo told police she last saw Hopson with cocaine a few days before their arrest when she handed him "a scale that was in her bedroom on the nightstand."
Acting U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy said the federal charges stem from a federal investigation led by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Niagara Falls Police Department.
Until the federal charges were filed, Costanzo was charged in state court with third- and fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and unlawful possession of marijuana.
A uniformed patrol officer, she has been on the Falls' force for three years and is currently suspended without pay. Niagara Falls police said she is not suspected of any wrongdoing while on duty, or of using her law enforcement position to help sell drugs.
Hopson and Carrier were initially charged with second-degree conspiracy, third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, second-degree possession of drug paraphernalia and unlawful possession of marijuana.
The federal prosecution is being led by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel A. Violanti.