"Turning dirty money into good mone."
That was the statement of District Attorney James P. Goodman, as he presented checks to three local police departments, state police and the county sheriff's department, at ceremonies held Monday morning at the Schuylkill County Courthouse in Pottsville. The checks, totaling $32,306.42, came from money seized from drug dealers following convictions for dealing in illegal drugs.
Recipients of the checks were the following:
Ÿ City of Pottsville, $10,000, to be used for an evidence room upgrade and also to continue purchasing assets and other items for its drug suppression efforts.
Ÿ State police, $4,402.50, for purchase of first choice armor tactical assault vests and tactical holders for their Glock 37 weapons. Goodman pointed out the state police were instrumental in the Schuylkill ICE (Immigration Control Enforcement) prosecution of 25 illegal immigrants arrested by troopers and prosecuted in state and federal courts for drug traffic and were able to obtain over $300,000 in forfeiture of seized money.
Ÿ Schuylkill Haven Borough, $8,848, to be used for visual alert police reporting system which will allow borough police in tracking their criminal cases and in particular will enhance the handling of drug cases.
Ÿ Schuylkill County Sheriff's Office, $6,055.92, to be used for the purchase of 12 Glock 40 caliber pistols and holsters for deputies. Sheriff Joseph Groody announced the department has not received new weapons in 18 years.
Ÿ Pine Grove Borough, $3,000, to be used for by borough police for startups money for its department to use for drug investigation. The borough recently joined the Schuylkill County Drug Task Force.
Assistant District Attorney Thomas Campion, who heads the drug forfeiture unit established by Goodman, explained how the money is obtained.
"When a drug dealer is arrested his assets can be seized, whether it is cash, a car or even property he owns, if it were used as part of the illegal activity of selling drugs. A forfeiture petition is filed to court to obtain the money which is turned over to the district attorney and at times the DA has distributed the money to local police departments for the continuing fight against illegal drugs," Campion said.
Goodman added, "When drug dealers sell drugs they are doing so at their own risk and the district attorney's office, with the help of local police and state police and the sheriff's office, will use all of their resources to arrest them and take away their assets.
"It is a pleasure in turning bad money into good money by taking money off drug dealers and returning it to law enforcement for drug suppression efforts."
Goodman said one of his goals is to enhance law enforcements abilities to fight drug related crime in Schuylkill County. He added that he welcomed hearing from local police forces requesting funds and they should send in their request by writing a letter to the district attorney's office.
"I will try to honor any reasonable requests as long as the money is used to increase the agencies drug suppression efforts," Goodman said.
He also encourages the public to get involved in combating illegal drug activities in their communities by calling the Schuylkill County Drug Tip Line at 1-800-414-1406.