ONDCP CRACKING DOWN ON DRUG TRAFFICKING IN SUBURBS
Philadelphia - Illegal drug traffickers in the suburbs might find they face greater obstacles, thanks to new federal resources from the Office of National Dug Control Policy ( ONDCP ).
U.S. Attorney Pat Meehan, joined by U.S. Marshal Gary Shovlin, announced the designation of the expansion of the federal High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas ( HIDTA ) in parts of Chester and Delaware counties from the U.S. Attorney's office yesterday.
The $4 million in federal resources will target areas of major illegal drug production, manufacturing, importation and distribution.
"The federal resources made available through HIDTA not only help Chester and Delaware counties in their fight against drug traffickers, but will subsequently add leverage to the efforts of our office, as well," Mr. Meehan said.
Some of the program's key priorities include assessing regional drug threats, facilitating anti-drug coordination between federal, state and local law enforcement, developing initiatives that improve the effectiveness and efficiency of drug control efforts and reducing and eliminating drug trafficking altogether.
Mr. Shovlin is also chairman of the Philadelphia/Camden HIDTA's executive board.
"On behalf of the drug czar," he said, referencing ONDCP Director John T. Walters, "today is bad day for drug trafficking in Pennsylvania."
Mr. Meehan said, last year alone, investigators recovered more than $7 million in cocaine and heroine from the streets of Chester County.
"These are the kinds of regional threats we face," he said.
Chester County District Attorney Joseph Carroll and Delaware County District Attorney Michael Green were also present for the announcement.
"It is really gratifying to gain this recognition publicly," said Mr. Green.
"This team has been working year-round in close collaborative building relationships that have one thing in mind - to take down drug trafficking in these regions."
As a first step in the federal selection process for these funds, the Philadelphia/Camden HIDTA conducted a "threat assessment" of the two counties, identifying prevailing and emerging drug trafficking, drug abuse, money laundering and gang and violence crime trends.
In total, 26 counties throughout the U.S. were designated for the HIDTA program, including counties in Arkansas, California, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas.
Bulletin, The (Philadelphia, PA)
Copyright: 2008 The Bulletin