Top prosecutor in midstate makes heroin trafficking top priority

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Jul 27, 2015 4:34 AM

(Harrisburg) -- The "smart on crime" approach is becoming slightly more accepted among prosecutors, law enforcement and the justice system.

But the top federal prosecutor in the midstate says he favors a different tactic for heroin distribution.

U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Peter Smith, says heroin trafficking is the top priority in his office.

He decided to focus on it after York County alerted him to the problem, while dealing with a rah of overdose deaths.

Smith says dealers target young people, and he calls them ruthless.

"Leniency towards certain kinds of criminal activity do not apply to heroin trafficking. We're going to prosecute them, particularly when it's tied in with violent street crime, which seems to be unfortunately a pattern all too often," says Smith.

"And we're gonna be as unrelenting as we can possibly be on prosecuting people who sell and distribute heroin, particularly the traffickers who are bringing it in from outside the state."

Since April, grand juries have indicted at least six people in the midstate for heroin distribution.

The charges often carry prison terms of up to 20 years.

But in one recent case, three Shippensburg residents are each facing 40 years in jail for allegedly dealing more than a hundred grams of heroin.

Hear the full interview from Smart Talk here.

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