Cumberland County District Attorney Dave Freed said Wednesday the county and region are facing an “epidemic” when it comes to heroin use. Upper Allen Township police arrested a man Tuesday, alleging he was dealing heroin.
“We’ve arrested and prosecuted more heroin dealers and put more heroin dealers in state prison in the last couple of years in this county than ever before. But, as with any drug for which there’s a large demand, when one person goes away, someone comes in and takes their place,” said Freed.
Police executed search warrants at a home on Nanroc Drive in Upper Allen Township Tuesday, finding at least $20,000 worth of heroin and marijuana as well as guns and drug paraphernalia. They arrested Edward Ramos, charging him with the felony drug crimes and two felony gun crimes. Ramos had been on parole for a federal drug crime and had been out of prison less than a year, police said. Because of that, he was prohibited from being in possession of firearms. Police said they found two guns in the home near where the drugs were.
Freed said police investigated after receiving tips from confidential informants. He said there have been burglaries in Upper Allen and Lowe Allen townships as well as Mechanicsburg, which he said had been perpetrated to feed people’s heroin addictions.
During the search, police found about 21 grams of heroin in bulk.
“It’s unusual to see this amount, and what that indicates is that it’s coming here in bulk amounts and being broken down,” said Freed. “If we start seeing more of this, i think that’s going to cause even further danger to users.”
Coroner Charles Hall said there already have been 27 drug overdose deaths this year, a record for the county. He called that “considerably higher” than last year but did not have precise numbers available. Freed said heroin has become a more appealing, less expensive alternative to prescription drugs, especially for young users.
“People need to know that this is not a city problem,” said Freed. “We’ve never seen it like this as it’s related to heroin.”