The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

July 12, 2013

Lycoming County law enforcers step up fight against heroin use

WILLIAMSPORT — Heroin users from the Central Susquehanna Valley that are coming to Williamsport for a cheap fix better be on the alert.

Lycoming County District Attorney Eric Lindhardt Friday was flanked by numerous law enforcement officials when he announced plans for a show of force aimed at curbing an increase use of heroin in the city and surrounding communities.

City Police Capt. Timothy Miller said the area has become a popular place to buy heroin because it is being sold for as little as $8 a bag. Instead of staying home and buying a bag for $20, they come here, he said. People are “shooting up” here and that has resulted in an increase in overdoses, Lindhardt said.

South Williamsport Police Chief Robert Hetner said his officers regularly deal with heroin users from the Sunbury- Selinsgrove area.

Linhardt attributed the increased amount of violence mostly to the heroin problem. The source of the heroin is mainly Philadelphia and Newark, N.J., he said. Efforts are being made with the FBI to go after the dealers there, Miller said.

Use of heroin in the Williamsport area has replaced crack cocaine, he said. People are shooting up in nearly every parking lot, he said.

One day recently at the back of City Hall he said he observed a man yelling. When he and another officer stopped him, they found a heroin needle sticking in a leg, he said. He was so high he did not realize it was there, he said.

In effort to curb the heroin supply and drive up the price to stop people from driving 60 miles to Williamsport to get it, Linhardt said he is providing $17,000 in forfeited drug money to finance the installation of 36 cameras with infrared capability in two housing areas.

Saturation patrols will be conducted in the city that will utilize state and other municipal police, funds will be provided for city police overtime to patrol all parks and a special operations unit will be on the streets, the district attorney said.

Mayor Gabriel J. Campana has proposed a landlord-tenant ordinance aimed at identifying those who are renting units in the city.

 

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