By Kaylee Lindenmuth
HAZLETON, Luzerne County - A Hazleton man was indicted by a federal grand jury last week on drug trafficking and firearms charges.
According to the United States Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Edward Gonzalez, 30, of Hazleton, allegedly possessed with intent to distribute over 500 grams of cocaine and a quantity of marijuana on November 30, 2018 in the city. Additionally, he allegedly possessed a .40 caliber handgun "in furtherance of drug trafficking.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and State Police are investigating the matter, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean A. Camoni is prosecuting.
"This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone," the office wrote in a media release. "The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime."
"This case was also brought as part of a district wide initiative to combat the nationwide epidemic regarding the use and distribution of heroin. Led by the United States Attorney’s Office, the Heroin Initiative targets heroin traffickers operating in the Middle District of Pennsylvania and is part of a coordinated effort among federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who commit heroin related offenses."
The office adds that the indictment is an allegation and all persons charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in court.
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