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Northampton County DA Announces Forfeitures, Seizures by Drug Task Force | WDIY Local News

Northampton County’s District Attorney has released a tally of the assets seized by its new full-time drug task force in the past year.

In a release on Tuesday, DA Terry Houck said the task force seized $168,623.13, 11 firearms, and four vehicles during the 2022-2023 fiscal year.

Houck said that in 2023 alone, the group has seized nearly $40,000, 20 firearms, and over 20 grams of the synthetic opioid fentanyl, along with various amounts of methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, and MDMA.

“I am proud to report this task force has amplified our ability to execute more comprehensive investigations and turn drug dealers’ illegal profits against them,” he said in a statement, adding that the task force has “contributed immensely to the success of our drug forfeitures.”

The DA’s office is authorized to seize money, vehicles, and real estate from people dealing drugs under the Controlled Substances Act, along with property used to facilitate drug trades or which represents profits made through illegal drug sales.

Houck said the forfeited money can be used for investigations and specialized police training, and to support community organizations.

He also said his office has used forfeiture funds for community safety initiative like its gun buyback program.

The first buyback hosted by Houck’s office, which took place in 2022, collected over 300 firearms. A second buyback was held in April 2023, which collected 248 guns.

In June 2022, Houck announced that the county’s drug task force would be switching from a part-time operation, as it had been for 20 years, to a full-time model.

The task force is made up of police officers from various departments across the county.

Houck said at the time that it was “more imperative than ever” for a full-time force of officers to be dedicated to combatting illegal drug trafficking in the area.

(Original air-date: 7/11/23)

Sarit "Siri" Laschinsky was WDIY's News and Public Affairs Director until 2023.
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