heroin

Attorney Albert Torrence submitted the following op-ed to the Beaver Countian for publication. Torrence is currently a Democratic candidate for Beaver County District Attorney.

Recently the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office completed a nine month investigation with the announcement of the arrest of four Beaver County individuals who are accused of drug trafficking. The arrests resulted in the seizure of 25,000 stamped bags of heroin, over $200,000 in cash, and several firearms. While the four remain innocent until proven guilty, these arrests highlight a growing problem facing Beaver County and one that my campaign has repeatedly highlighted. That problem is the epidemic of heroin in our communities, and the deaths and violent crime that it causes.

Since the beginning of my campaign I have utilized several First Responders who have worked to track deaths resulting from heroin and other drug overdoses. The results indicate that Beaver County is losing at least one person each week, approximately 50 each year, to drug overdoses. Most of these deaths are of young people under the age of thirty. They have touched many families. Heroin is cheaper than it has ever been, and is readily available to an ever younger group of people. This is as tragic as it is startling. Moreover, it calls for a renewed effort on the part of all law enforcement to combat this problem. This effort must be lead by the next District Attorney.

Drug distribution is not only a crime–it is a business for those who engage in it. What is needed is a dramatic increase in the cost of doing business. This can be achieved first by by insisting on significant prison sentences for those convicted of possessing quantities of heroin and other controlled substances that are clearly intended for distribution. Plea reductions that result in convictions for mere possession, and the probationary sentences that go with them, should be minimized. Defendants with prior criminal records should not be given the benefit of sentence recommendations at the bottom of the standard sentencing range. The provisions of the Crimes Code that permit the District Attorney’s Office to seek the forfeiture of all property connected to drug crime such as cash, vehicles, and homes, must be utilized more aggressively and to the fullest extent permitted by law. The District Attorney’s standing to force the eviction of those convicted of drug trafficking should be a component of each such case. Finally, the use of Section 2506 of the Crimes Code, which calls for a third degree murder charge for anyone who delivers a controlled substance that results in the death of another person, should be standard.

It is also the case that a great deal of the violent crime that occurs in our communities is related to drug trafficking. A reduction in drug trafficking will necessarily result in a reduction in the violent crime associated with it. All of this will require a coordinated effort among the District Attorney’s Office, the Beaver County Drug Task Force, local law enforcement, the State Police and the Attorney General’s Office. It will also require a reorganization of the DA staff and the dedication of resources to these goals.

At the same time those addicted to drugs, particularly our young people who do not commit crimes of violence, should be given an opportunity to emerge from the criminal system with a chance at a future. This will require the implementation of a drug court that provides for treatment, education and support in exchange for measurable results.

While we may never be completely free of the scourge of drugs, as a community we must speak out with a clear and consistent voice against those who profit from them. As District Attorney I intend to lead a renewed effort to insure that our children and grandchildren do not have ready access to heroin and other illegal substances.

TeamTorrence.com

Albert Torrence
Attorney Albert Torrence has a law practice in Beaver, serves as an Assistant District Attorney, and is the longtime Solicitor of the Beaver Area School District.

48
Reader Comments

avatar
Photo and Image Files
 
 
 
Audio and Video Files
 
 
 
Other File Types
 
 
 
31 Comment threads
17 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
21 Comment authors
Who CaresSotromanNativecutiefairplayQuincy Walker Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest top voted
Notify of
Justin Shuy
Guest
Justin Shuy

I actually disagree with a lot of this. Drug addiction is a medical problem and have we not seen the failure of the criminal aspect of it here and nationwide? Putting someone in jail and giving them a record has it’s place as a result of some actions (violent) but in most of these cases only further destroys lives we maybe could save. Asset forfeiture is THEFT no matter how you break it down and who does it.

Putting people in the street and making them even more poor is not going to help the problem or the communities. You end up with a lot more problems going that route.

Now the last part about helping people especially the youth I get and support. A good first step, which works well with today’s date, is ending prohibition on marijuana. Stop arresting people for having a plant and turn that police focus to heroin and other serious issues. I’m sorry but arresting anyone for marijuana really makes the cops and the court system the criminals and doesn’t help anyone.

CLUELESS
Guest
CLUELESS

So if some drug dealer gets a ton of money selling smack they should keep there fancy cars and house they bought with the drug money when they get caught? Theft? LOL!

Adam Cannon
Guest
Adam Cannon

I agree completely. Drug addiction is a public health issue. This is just more of the War on Drugs rhetoric that has gotten us nowhere.

Dustin Wingmen
Guest
Dustin Wingmen

This is the smartest thing I could have read. But as for marijuana just like all the other bullshit the gestapo fuck with you about. It generates revenue. Long trials for large drug distribution rings don’t make nearly as much money as busting the user repeatedly and making him pay thousands of dollars or fines and court costs.

Honest Abe
Member
Honest Abe

Mr. Shuy:

I agree with some of what you said, and I’d bet we are “on the same side of the aisle”, but please explain: Why are you against Asset Forfeiture? Its not the same as Theft b/c said assets were acquired by and through illegal activity? Just curious.

Mr. Obvious
Guest
Mr. Obvious

Al, I understand that junkies are a big problem. And that’s a shame. But I don’t really care about junkies. That’s their problem.

If you want to search out junkies, that’s great – do that. However, I see a bigger problem with the DA’s office turning a blind eye to crimes that are literally dropped on your lap. You really don’t have to go looking for this one:

https://beavercountian.com/content/daily/sources-district-attorney-1-day-away-charging-sheriffs-deputy

Our current DA REFUSES to prosecute a clear cut case of perjury by a LEO. Clear cut – there is no gray area. This is black and white. While I realise that you are just a cog in the wheel at the DA’s office, what concens me the most is not a junkie shooting up but a LEO completely lying on a complaint and having the DA back him up and protect him. So while, I appreciate that you are just an ADA, and Bersosh is your boss, I have to associate you with this decision not ot prosecute.

As our DA and knowing that the statue of limitations is five years, will you prosecute LEO’s that lie under oath? Or at the very least, would you agree to turn the investigation over to the PSP and not continue to shield crimimals like your boss has done, so that they can actually be prosecuted?

I’m sorry to call you out like this, but your boss is a piece of shit. Tony if you read this – do your job and thanks for wasting my time having to write this out. I hope you enjoy your retirement. I known I will knowing that you are no longer the DA.

Honest Abe
Member
Honest Abe

Although I disagree with the callous remark “But I don’t really care about junkies. That’s their problem.” [Terribly naïve, people are shooting people and robbing people to get money to feed this habit, to say nothing of the fact that these are human beings caught up in a terrible cycle].

HOWEVER, the question posed to Mr. Torrence is extremely relevant. Will you prosecute the Law Enforcement Officer…for lying on a Complaint? For putting the integrity of the entire law enforcement community of Beaver County under a stigma of corruption?

Yes or no ? Clearly you read this site as you found it wise enough to advertise here (great move), as well as post an op-ed here (another great move).

Mr. Torrence, will you prosecute? We deserve an answer PRIOR TO election day!

Mr Obvious
Guest
Mr Obvious

but for the period after Mr, we could be one in the same. My problem with Torrence is that he has done pretty much NOTHING while being an ADA until now when he wants the pay increase and the title District Attorney. We really have no clear cut or worthy candidate to vote for. The losers are the citizens of Beaver County!!

not sure
Member
not sure

This attorney General case is nothing. 25,000 stamp bags? In Aliquippa I saw bricks, kilos being stacked on top of a car in a gas station parking lot by officers on what looked like a traffic stop that hit the gold mine. Figured it was the bust of the century by what was happening. Saw nothing in the paper about it.

Coordinate with other counties, figure out the flow of the large distribution and patterns in which it happens. Look, we like you Torrence, you seem like a good guy. But you can’t direct law enforcement if law enforcement is not on your same page. Sure, stiffer penalties while looking compassionate. But who is making the most money off of those drugs coming in? The legal system or the traffickers?

I have yet to see a politician take on this problem and win. Maybe pick a better battle to talk about so you can get yourself elected on things you can actually achieve. Throwing more convictions out there may look good, but can you stop the supply of those that are protected by large sums of money? No one really has yet.

rx specialist
Guest
rx specialist

I have seen three of these men walking the streets already.

10~9
Guest
10~9

Agree the game needs tighten up in county, but the leadership needs to change and will take serious minded District Attorney.

DRUGS, MURDERS, RAPES AND TAXPAYERS BEING VIOLATED JUST TO NAME A FEW.

And honestly I think AL is the only candidate that can relate to the issues and understands beaver county.

Seriously one candidate had no business being the D.A and thinks he’s running for class president. The other is to tied to the hood and players in the game.

Republican side is worse.