SOMERSET BOROUGH (KDKA) — State police in Somerset County say a police officer with Somerset Borough is facing bribery charges.

According to state police investigators, Officer Jason Michael Ponczek allegedly told a drug suspect he would let him go in exchange for $500.

A criminal complaint filed Saturday reports that Ponczek is accused of telling the suspect “he had bills to pay.”

Investigators say the suspect went to state police, who set up the transaction.

On Feb. 24, the suspect met with state police in Somerset and was contacted by Ponczek in their presence. During the conversation, the suspect asked Ponczek if they handed over the already agreed upon $500 if charges would not be filed.

Ponczek allegedly confirmed he would hold up his end of the deal and would not file charges.

Around 6 p.m. the suspect returned to their residence with troopers. About an hour later, the suspect was once again contacted by Ponczek, who asked to meet at a bank across the street from the residence.

Troopers gave the suspect $500 in recorded state funds. Then, the suspect walked across the street to meet Ponczek in a marked Somerset Borough cruiser.

The suspect leaned in the passenger-side window of the vehicle, handed the $500 over and walked back to their residence.

Ponczek left the scene and returned to the Somerset Borough Building and was taken into custody.

Ponczek is facing charges of bribery in official and political matters and official oppression.

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