Man accused of threatening co-defendant in drug case

From staff reports

A Franklin man already going through the Venango County court system in a drug case is now facing additional charges for threatening one of his co-defendants in that case.

Sugarcreek Borough police said in a criminal complaint that officers received a call Wednesday from a person who was upset and crying and who said Jacob Erwin, 22, had sent threatening and intimidating messages.

The person showed the threatening messages to police on Thursday, the complaint said.

Erwin “messaged the (person) with intent to refrain from informing the law enforcement about the criminal activities that they have engaged in,” the complaint said.

In addition, Erwin threatened to provide incriminating evidence to the district attorney about that person, the complaint said. Erwin also asked in the messages if the person had heard back from their attorney, according to the complaint.

Erwin, the person he is accused of threatening and four others were charged in connection with a September incident in which Children and Youth Services and Sugarcreek police went to Erwin’s house in Rocky Grove to conduct a welfare check on his two children, the complaint said.

At the residence, police found Erwin and four other adults, three men and one women, on the property and marijuana, methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia in plan view in the garage, the complaint said. While police were at the house a sixth person came to the residence with the two children, according to the complaint.

After obtaining a search warrant, Sugarcreek police searched the premises and found 26.6 grams of methamphetamine packaged in baggies as well as loose methamphetamine, numerous pieces of drug paraphernalia, $1,840 in cash and a loaded pistol, the complaint said.

Erwin and the other five adults at the home were arraigned on similar drug charges in the case, and Erwin waived his hearing in Venango County Central Court in September. A charge of endangering the welfare of children was added against Erwin in October, and the case is now moving through the Court of Common Pleas.

Erwin was arraigned Thursday in the new case on felony counts of intimidate witness/victim- refrain from report, intimidate witness/victim false/misleading testimony and intimidate witness/victim- false/misleading testimony to attorney.

He was placed in the Venango County jail after failing to post bail, and his preliminary hearing is scheduled Wednesday in Central Court.