CINCINNATI -- The Hamilton County clerk of courts announced reforms intended to protect confidential search warrants after a grand jury indicted a former court clerk officer worker on charges that she sold search warrants to an accused drug dealer.
Yakyma Boyd, 45, is charged with two counts of tampering with records. According to the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office, she took confidential documents and information and distributed it to targets of a wide-scale drug investigation.
"We have someone who was entrusted with very sensitive information, information that could lead to the death or injury of police officers," Prosecutor Joe Deters said.
Deters said he didn't believe Boyd "understands the significance of what she was doing."
County Clerk of Courts Aftab Pureval said Boyd, a 22-year employee, was fired Thursday. She had been on unpaid leave after she was initially charged.
"What Ms. Boyd did was unconscionable and disgusting," Pureval said.
Going forward, all search warrants will be held in a secure, locked location so only the judge and police officer know the details, Pureval said. Additionally, the clerk of courts office will now run background checks on all employees every four years and employees will take annual ethics training, he said.
"We are serious about safeguarding that information and keeping people safe," Pureval said.
The investigation into Boyd began mid-October, according to court documents. Boyd was arrested and charged Nov. 9.
Deters said investigators became suspicious after they found numerous search warrants, that deputies expected to turn up drugs, did not lead to the discovery of any drugs.
He declined to go into the specifics of how investigators caught onto Boyd and Earnest Bryant, the man accused of buying the warrants from her. But Deters said Boyd was getting roughly $1,000 per warrant and that Bryant was caught with about 2 kilograms of cocaine.
Bryant was charged with drug trafficking, drug possession and two counts of tampering with records and a weapons charge.
"He's active in the drug-dealing community," Deters said.
If convicted, Boyd faces 22 years in prison and Bryant faces 43 years in prison, according to Deters.
"The case against these two individuals is very strong," he said.