AG says clandestine unit being redeployed in new community
In February, the Office of Attorney General’s Mobile Street Crimes Unit (MSCU) announced that as a result of its maiden deployment, it removed 35,000 packets of heroin from the streets of Hazleton – or at least one packet of heroin for every citizen in a city of 33,000.
Now, after seven months, more than 100 arrests of violent criminals, and the removal of guns and other illegal drugs from Hazleton neighborhoods, the MSCU has begun its second deployment in an undisclosed location. The MSCU, also known as X-IMPACT, is a clandestine unit that works as an accelerator for local law enforcement by leveraging resources and expertise to make a swift impact on drug trafficking and other street crime.
To document the impact of the unit’s time in Hazleton and to demonstrate the effective use of taxpayer resources, the Office of Attorney General (OAG) has released a two-and-a-half minute, mini-documentary to accompany the announcement of the unit’s redeployment.
The video provides an inside look at the brave work of the OAG drug agents and members of the Hazleton Police Department in locating and arresting violent criminals. It also provides perspective from local leaders in Hazleton on the MSCU’s lasting effects on their community.
“The Mobile Street Crimes Unit is the ultimate regional crime-fighting tool; pooling federal, state and local resources into one focused force-multiplier that ripples across municipal and county boundaries,” said State Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne), who was a part of a bipartisan group in the legislature that championed the initial investment in the MSCU in 2013. The $3 million annual appropriation enabled Attorney General Kane to create the Bureau of Narcotics Investigations’ Region X, which encompasses the MSCU.
“Thanks to the General Assembly for seeing the investment in our future; the investment in our people; and the investment in their towns and their regions in giving us that money,” Attorney General Kane said in February 2014 in Hazleton.
Hazleton, like the new location, faced declining funding and expanded responsibility for law enforcement. While the epidemic of drug abuse and crime fit no economic, educational or social profile, Hazleton’s sharp decline in economic opportunity has led to an increase in the drug trade and other crimes. Heroin use, along with the criminal organizations that perpetuate it, had become a dire problem in Hazleton over the last few years.
The Mobile Street Crimes Unit provides local law enforcement with an infusion of resources and expertise to accelerate their efforts and make a long-term impact. “The concept takes a task-force; makes it part of a police force; [and] creates the impact; and that has changed the way that the City of Hazleton and the Hazleton community now combat crime,” remarked Hazleton Police Chief Frank DeAndrea.
Attorney General Kane echoed Chief DeAndrea and Sen. Yudichak’s sentiments that the MSCU is a testament to the power of collaboration and leveraged resources, “This is a true showing to the people of this community and communities across Pennsylvania that when we work together, we are stronger; we are more efficient, and they are safer.”
Additionally, the new deployment does not mean the MSCU has exited Hazleton for good. Since February’s round-up 10 arrests have been made through cooperation between the OAG and the Hazleton Police Department. More arrests are anticipated and the MSCU will continue to be a presence in Hazleton.