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Pennsylvania Ramps Up Efforts to Target Heroin-Related Drug Crimes

In an effort to crack down on a growing heroin problem, Pennsylvania is joining with New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts to form an interstate coalition for investigating and prosecuting heroin traffickers. It is expected that other Northeastern states will join the group in the coming weeks. 

The idea for the coalition grew out of the knowledge that interstate trafficking has become both a major problem and a barrier to successfully solving it. According to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, some 98 percent of the heroin cases his office has prosecuted involved movement across state lines, a tactic that makes it far more difficult for investigators and prosecutors to do their work. Increased demand for heroin and soaring profits for traffickers mean the problem requires new and more collaborative measures. 

Pennsylvania classifies heroin as a Schedule I drug, which means it is one of the most dangerous and addictive drugs on the market. The penalties for heroin convictions can be severe. Simple misdemeanor possession of less than one gram of heroin can land an offender in jail for up to one year, with repeat offenders at risk of spending three years incarcerated. 

In some cases, offenders may be eligible for alternative penalties, such as placement within the state’s drug court system. This requires drug testing and counseling and has been proven to reduce recidivism and addiction. Meanwhile, major drug dealers and traffickers face much stiffer penalties. They are typically charged with felonies, which result in prison time of up to 15 years. 

Particularly if your case involves federal as well as state charges, being convicted of crimes involving the possession, sale or distribution of heroin and other narcotics can lead to serious, long-lasting penalties. If you have been charged, you should seek the counsel of an experienced Berks County criminal defense attorney with the Law Office of David R. Eshelman. A qualified lawyer can provide the information and support you need, and will fight to see that you maintain your freedom.

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