The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Thursday the arrests of 17 individuals and indictments of numerous people under “Operation Save Milton” – the sting named for a trafficking network that prompted increases in overdose deaths in and around the Northumberland County borough.
Nearly 30 alleged traffickers of heroin and cocaine have been charged under the ongoing investigation.
The majority of the players and incidents are primarily based in Northumberland County, Dauphin and Union counties.
A Lancaster County-based investigation after an overdose death here in 2017 led local officials to the large-scale operation.
Local investigators - specifically Elizabethtown police Detective Dustin Ryan, coordinating with Assistant District Attorney Barry Goldman – worked on the May 2017 overdose incident and ultimately charged multiple individuals with drug delivery resulting in death.
As Lancaster County investigators worked on uncovering higher-level suppliers, they touched base with the Drug Enforcement Administration, which had recently started work that overlapped. The agencies collaborated and combined information to further the investigations and contribute to the indictments.
The work shows how collaboration between law enforcement agencies makes our communities safer.
It also shows the value of investigating the actions surrounding overdose deaths as potentially criminal acts.
There have been publicized reports that outline drug users being charged with the felony drug delivery resulting in death offense.
However, in Lancaster County, we work hard to decipher in prosecution between a legitimate drug dealer and a drug user who obtained heroin/fentanyl for an acquaintance.
We will continue to investigate, and explore charging options, in overdose death incidents.
“Through these investigations we gain crucial information that takes us up the supply chain to the higher-level dealers spreading the poisons in our communities,” Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman said.
The “Operation Save Milton” link is evident of just that.
MEDIA CONTACT: Brett A. Hambright, 717-295-2041; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @BrettHambright