State Police tackle trio of drug problems
HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania State Police revamped its drug law enforcement operations to tackle multi-faceted problems involving a heroin epidemic, illegal use of prescription drugs and proliferation of meth labs, Commissioner Frank Noonan told lawmakers Tuesday.
State police are focused on dismantling large drug trafficking organizations and obstructing drug transport routes in northeast Pennsylvania and across the state.
Recent drug seizures in northeast Pennsylvania include six kilograms of heroin seized during a Dec. 19 traffic stop in Tobyhanna, 1,343 packets of heroin seized during an Oct. 24 traffic stop near Hazleton, 206 packets of heroin seized during a Dec. 8 traffic stop in Hazleton and 2,102 packets of heroin seized Oct. 18 with use of a search warrant in Wilkes-Barre, state police reported.
Drug Strike Force units have been established in six regions to nab traffickers using electronic interceptions. Specially trained troopers are being deployed at strategic locations, including interstates, to seize drugs in transport.
Undercover units have intercepted drugs being shipped through commercial rail, buses and airports. These units seized two privately owned airplanes delivering hundreds of pounds of marijuana.
A Clandestine Lab Response Team handles cleanup operations involving illegal drug labs.
Heroin trafficking has increased to meet greater consumer demand because prices have dropped during the past half-dozen years, said Noonan. Prescription drug use is a gateway to heroin, he said.
"It (heroin trafficking) continues to be a real plague for this state and the country," he said.