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    Sunday, March 26, 2023

    Conn. trooper arrested for allegedly allowing girlfriend to access state police computer

    A Connecticut State Police trooper was arrested Wednesday and accused of allegedly allowing his girlfriend to access the state police computer system to reveal information about a drug trafficking investigation.

    Mitchell Paz, 29, has been fully suspended with pay after he was charged with two counts each of third-degree computer crimes and conspiracy to commit third-degree computer crimes, according to Connecticut State Police.

    State police said the 29-year-old, who has been a trooper since 2015, allowed “a third party” to access the state police reporting system which contains “sensitive information.”

    “This alleged sharing of information impeded ongoing investigations,” state police said in a statement.

    According to Paz’s arrest warrant, he was allegedly allowed Terryville resident Amanda Marino, 32, a woman he was in a relationship with, to access unauthorized information in the state police’s records management system.

    In August 2022, the state police initiated an investigation into the suspected sale of controlled substances by Watertown resident Shawn Roka. The investigation concluded with search warrants executed at Roka’s home and business, Fairlawn Tavern in Waterbury, according to Paz’s warrant. The warrants lead to the arrest of Roka, 32, on drug and weapons charges, all of which remain pending, according to the warrant.

    According to the warrant, Marino and Roka share a child, and Marino was allegedly seen entering and exiting Roka’s home throughout the investigation. Investigators allegedly witnessed her driving an Audi Q5 during the visits that was registered to Paz, according to the warrant.

    It was during the investigation that state police learned that Marino was in a relationship with Paz, the warrant said. State police said Paz was not privy to or involved in the investigation of Roka.

    In January, investigators said they received information that Marino was allegedly accessing information about Roka’s arrest from the state police laptop in Paz’s cruiser and relaying them to Roka, the warrant said.

    According to the warrant, the information included the identity of a confidential informant and undercover state police detectives used in the investigation.

    Roka and Marino were charged in February. Roka faces one count of conspiracy to commit third-degree computer crime, according to state police. Marino has been charged with two counts of third-degree computer crimes and one count of conspiracy to commit third-degree computer crime.

    According to state police, Paz had his police powers suspended and was placed on administrative leave when troopers became aware of the allegations on Jan. 9.

    Following Paz’s arrest Wednesday, state police said, an internal affairs investigation was launched and a referral was made to the Connecticut State Police Officer Standards and Training Council for “potential decertification.”

    Paz has previously been assigned to Troop A in Southbury and Troop G in Bridgeport before most recently serving at Troop I in Bethany while on administrative leave, state police said.

    He is free on a $15,000 bond and scheduled to appear in New Britain Superior Court on March 29.

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