Today, while googling the words, heroin bust, the google results come up with more than 549,000 results in .32 seconds. If you think it can’t happen in your community, you’re wrong. Yesterday while walking in Upper Darby on West Chester Pike near S. Pennock Ave, a neighbor who would prefer to remain anonymous, found a packet of the poison heroin that fortunately did not end up in a child’s hand. Drug sales happen anywhere at any time. This particular item was found near a convenience store’s parking lot. Drug sales have happened in fast food restaurant parking lots, gas stations or even in a parking lot of hospital. Last week, a south Jersey woman was arrested after police found have drug paraphernalia and cocaine in the parking lot of Ocean County Hospital.
Heroin is a national problem that affects all communities, black or white, rich or poor. In Upper Darby, police arrested Donte Lloyd “L” Pace, 19, of the 300 block of Copley Road, for hand to hand sales of this deadly drug. He was arraigned by Magisterial District Judge Christopher Mattox who set his bail at $50,000 cash for charges of our counts each of felony for possession of drugs and drug dealing, and four counts each of misdemeanor charges for possession of heroin, possession of drug paraphernalia and criminal use of a cell phone. Tomorrow, Pace will face Magisterial District Judge Nicholas Lippincott for a preliminary hearing. To help reduce the pattern of drug dealers in and out of our justice system it has been advised that high cash bails, like that imposed by Judge Mattox, are a must. Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood stated that “”If we get these drug dealers off the streets and keep them in jail on high bail they can’t commit a crime,” Chitwood said.
When an alleged drug dealer is arrested and appears for bail, judges unilaterally should increase bail amounts to reduce the drug trade on our street as District Judge Christopher Mattox has done. According to the website, Bureau of Justice Statistics, only 35% those charged in state court of distribution of drugs, only 35% were held over on bail and only 5% were denied bail.
The other side of the coin though is the actual drug users. Since the 1980’s mandatory sentences have been assigned to drug cases. United States District Judge Mark Bennett remarked that there are times that he just wants to apologize for the sentences that have to be hand out saying, “My hands are tied on your sentence. I’m sorry. This isn’t up to me.” Unfortunately, results have been that our prison system is overcrowded and all those long prison sentences has not slowed down the drug trade much. According to Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood, “addiction problem continues to be a major epidemic in the country, especially on the East Coast. In my opinion, there is not enough treatment for the addicted individual, not enough focus on treatment.” The drug addict is in need for help, and that can be done through education and drug rehabilitation so that “The stealing, robbing, pillaging to support the drug habit” can finally be stopped.