Wolf works to keep heroin, fentanyl out of communities
As part of Stop Overdoses in PA: Get Help Now Week, Lt. Col. Robert Evanchick, acting commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police and Maj. Gen. Tony Carrelli, Pennsylvania’s adjutant general and head of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, recently reinforced the Wolf administration’s collaborative approach toward disrupting the flow of illegal drugs into the commonwealth.
The Pennsylvania State Police continues to work closely with its local and federal law enforcement partners, including the Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security and others to aggressively investigate and dismantle drug trafficking organizations operating in the commonwealth.
From Jan. 1, through Nov. 30, 2018, troopers seized nearly 52 kilograms of heroin and 37 kilograms of fentanyl. In its purest form, even a small amount of fentanyl can cause a severe or potentially deadly reaction, putting not only users but also anyone who encounters the drug at risk.
“Members of the Pennsylvania State Police remain steadfast in their efforts to bring to justice the dangerous smugglers and dealers who target the commonwealth’s most vulnerable populations,” Evanchick said. “Together with our law enforcement partners, we are using all resources available to keep illegal drugs out of our communities.”
Major drug seizures have come after simple traffic stops as well as complex, long-term investigations, according to Evanchick. Recently, a patrol trooper recovered 16 kilograms of fentanyl and 79 grams of cocaine after a traffic stop in Northampton County. In August 2018, an undercover operation in Philadelphia yielded four kilograms of heroin and three kilograms of fentanyl.
“The Pennsylvania Counterdrug Joint Task Force leverages unique National Guard capabilities that supports local and state law enforcement partners such as the Pennsylvania State Police, creates valuable community partnerships and provides free training through our Northeast Counterdrug Training Center in Lebanon County,” Carrelli said. “Their mission directly supports Governor Wolf’s fight against opioid abuse and heroin use, and they are truly dedicated to getting these deadly drugs out of circulation.”
From Oct. 1, 2017 to Sept. 1, 2018, the Pennsylvania Counterdrug Joint Task Force supported the transportation and destruction of 147 pounds of heroin with a street value of $7,046,400 and the Northeast Counterdrug Training Center offered educational programs to address the current drug crisis, providing 26 iterations of Opioid Awareness training for 1,100 students and seven iterations of a Current Opioid Threat training to 226 students. A total of 6,480 Pennsylvania students received free training from NCTC.
The CJTF also partnered with PSP and other law enforcement agencies to provide investigative support with an overall contribution to 85 opioid cases resulting in 786 lbs. of heroin seizures with a street value of $68,138. The CJTF is a federally funded program and all their programs and services are provided at no cost to the commonwealth.
“Pennsylvania’s Counterdrug Joint Task Force continues to expand and adapt operations to meet today’s evolving threats, but the strong working relationships between our state and federal partners have been the true keys to our successes,” Carrelli added.