U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) today joined elected officials and local

and federal law enforcement partners to discuss the challenges posed by drug and

gang related crime in Northeastern Pennsylvania. At the meeting, Senator Casey

discussed strategies to reduce drug and gang crime and prevent it from spreading


U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) today joined elected officials and local
and federal law enforcement partners to discuss the challenges posed by drug and
gang related crime in Northeastern Pennsylvania. At the meeting, Senator Casey
discussed strategies to reduce drug and gang crime and prevent it from spreading.

"I am troubled by reports that illustrate the negative impact drug and gang crime is
having on our communities in Northeastern Pennsylvania," said Senator Casey. "It is
imperative that local, state and federal resources are coordinated to reduce the
threat that drugs and gangs are posing to our communities and stop the spread of
drug trafficking organizations in Pennsylvania."

Senator Casey discussed anti-drug crime strategies with Scranton Mayor Chris
Doherty, Hazleton Mayor Joseph Yannuzzi, law enforcement officials from Lackawanna
and Luzerne counties and federal law enforcement partners.

Earlier this month, the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) released a drug and
gang threat assessment requested by Senator Casey for Eastern Pennsylvania. Senator
Casey discussed the findings of the report at the meeting and pledged to continue to
work to direct federal resources to fighting this regional problem.

In February, Senator Casey wrote to House Speaker John Boehner urging him to abandon
proposed cuts to local law enforcement programs that would make it harder to stop
the spread of gangs and drug related crimes in Pennsylvania.

"We have to tackle the long-term deficit and we need to cut funding for wasteful and
inefficient federal programs, but we can't just indiscriminately hack away at
programs that keep our communities safe," said Senator Casey. "The agencies and
individuals fighting this crime are doing a terrific job, but because the crime
crosses state borders there is a clear federal responsibility to provide resources
to help local officials keep their communities safe."

In a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in January, Senator Casey
highlighted an increase in drug-related crime in Scranton as evidence of the need
for the federal government to help local law enforcement tackle the growing problem.

The NDIC Eastern Pennsylvania Drug and Gang Threat Assessment 2011 can be viewed
here. Among the report's
findings:

 *   New York gangs are increasingly dominant in many Eastern Pennsylvania drug markets
 *   Rival gangs are increasingly invading homes and stealing from drug dealers
 *   Dominican drug trafficking organizations are expanding their distribution
beyond Hazleton to Kingston and other markets in nearby counties
 *   Drug-related violent crime is increasing even though overall violent crime in
Eastern Pennsylvania is down
 *   For the future: New York area gangs will move farther into Pennsylvania, heroin
use will increase, Mexican drug trafficking organizations and violence against law
enforcement officers will increase