Hazleton Police get $300k Thanks to Drug Bust

HAZLETON, Pa. -- One of Hazleton police's biggest drug arrests will give some relief to taxpayers.

"All these drugs and stuff they're taking off the street is wonderful, and all the money they recoup from there should go for all their needs, all their cars, their vests, and their guns, or whatever they need to do," said Hazle Township resident Louis Deangelo.

A United States Attorney, Homeland Security investigators, and Hazleton police held a news conference to announce a grant check for nearly $300,000 that was presented to the police department.

The money comes from items seized during the arrest of 26-year-old Joshua Sweet of Hazleton. He was arrested for being part of a big operation selling synthetic drugs on what's considered the "darknet."

"Sometimes law enforcement get shortchanged, and when we have the opportunity in law enforcement to forfeit ill-gotten gains from people who are involved in criminal activity, I feel very strongly that we should take those opportunities," said U.S. Attorney David Freed.

It took about a year for the Hazleton Police Department to receive the money from the case. The chief says the money will be used to pay for things the department needs.

"For a police department of our size, this is great. This could go towards group-violence intervention. This could go towards vehicle fleets, technology. 21st century policing is our hallmark and that's what we'll use it for," said Hazleton Police Chief Jerry Speziale.

Some of the people we spoke with who live in the Hazleton area didn't know about the arrest or about the check police just received, but they did want to thank the officers for their hard work.

"The police are trying to communicate with the public and the people and get out there and I believe the chief of police is doing a real good job."

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