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PA AG looks to increase criminal charges for drug cartels

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane has started an innovative program to combat the sale of Heroin in small Pennsylvania towns. Kane, a former Lackawanna County prosecutor, has formed mobile street crime units that are being deployed in small cities and towns to assist Federal officials in limiting the sales of Heroin by Mexican drug cartels.

The Mobile Street Crimes Unit recently disclosed the results of its five-month deployment in Hazelton, PA, that ended in February. With cooperation from both the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Unit collected 35,000 bags of Heroin, miscellaneous guns, vehicles, cash and jewelry. The unit was responsible for the filing of criminal charges in 97 cases

The Unit is intended to provide assistance to local police departments that is not usually available from the Federal government because the crimes are small and often do not appear on the "radar" of either the DEA or the FBI. According to the state senator who represents Carbon County and parts of Luzerne County, only 6% of the 99 cities in his district with populations of less than 5,000 have full-time police forces.

The creation and deployment of the Mobile Street Crime Unit will undoubtedly result in more arrests and more persons charged with violating Federal and state drug laws. Any increase in the number of arrests, however, does not necessarily correspond to an increase in convictions. A person charged with possession, use or sale of a controlled substance has many defenses, including the lack of probable cause for an arrest and an unreasonable search and seizure. Anyone facing such charges should consult a criminal lawyer with experience in defending these crimes.

Source: Tickle the Wire, "Pennsylvania Attorney General Launches Innovative Program Around the State to Battle Heroin Tied to Mexican Cartels," Jeffrey Anderson, June 20, 2014

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