State Police: $13.7M in drugs seized this year

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State troopers seized $13,755,803 in illegal drugs through the first three months of 2017, according to an announcement Wednesday by the Pennsylvania State Police.  Heroin accounted for the vast majority of seizures — 29.26 pounds valued at $10,194,375. Troopers also confiscated fentanyl totaling 8.5 pounds, valued at $52,000, as well as a mishmash of 4,075 pills, including prescription opioids.  More than 3,500 people died of a drug overdose in Pennsylvania in 2015, with heroin and prescription opioids found in a majority of the cases.  “Heroin is the big thing we’re seeing now,” said Cpl. Adam Reed, state police communications director.  “You are seeing more and more of that across the state.”  Heroin seizures are on pace to exceed 2016 totals, when 100 pounds valued at $34.2 million were seized.  Trooper Rick Blair, public information officer based at the Milton barracks, said the state trend of heroin as the drug of choice is evident locally.  “We’re seeing the same thing,” Blair said.  The totals from the state police show proactivity in a job that’s often reactive, Blair said.  Troopers are making traffic stops or responding to 911 calls, and they’re looking beyond the obvious.  A speeding violation led to the arrest of a New York man accused of delivering 2.27 pounds of cocaine to Cleveland, Ohio.  He was stopped while traveling west on Interstate 80 in White Deer Township, Union County.  Charges were filed by troopers from the Lamar station.  The stop netted a third of the 6.6 pounds of cocaine seized across the state this year.  “They’re seeking clues and other identifying factors to say, ‘You know, we may have someone stopped that might be more than a speeding violation,’” Blair said.  In addition to opioids, state police confiscated 22.2 pounds of methamphetamine valued at $1,004,642 as well as 539 pounds of processed marijuana valued at $1,884,625.  A December arrest — falling just outside first quarter 2017 figures — on Interstate 80 in Valley Township, Montour County, netted 67 pounds of marijuana valued at $402,000.  The types and amounts of illegal drugs seized at any one time are unpredictable.  Reed said the totals are a combination of multiple large busts and many more smaller seizures.  It’s not just during traffic stops, either.  “We have troopers seeking drugs at shipping facilities, train stations and airports,” Reed said.