Drug Users Turning to Crack Cocaine

By Kiersten Mathieu

July 22, 2010 Updated Apr 28, 2006 at 11:10 PM EDT

The crackdown on meth has some drug users turning to crack cocaine instead. A drug bust announced in Bradford County is a big example.

Pennsylvania State Police charged 34 people accused of dealing, and most are behind bars tonight.

These are among the suspected dealers arrested in Operation Border Patrol, accused of trafficking drugs from New York into Pennsylvania.

Because dozens were arrested, it is one of the biggest busts in Bradford County history.

And this year-long undercover investigation revealed a new demand among drug users.

"We have pushed the meth problem on the backburner. But there's always a driven choice to fill that void. Today that choice is crack cocaine," said Chief Larry Hurley of the Athens Township Police Department.

Investigators seized drugs with a street value of up to $20,000.

Investigators say the drug trafficking across the New York, Pennsylvania state border is purely business for the drug dealers.

"Supply and demand. As long as there's a demand, there are going to be people that are going to find the supply and provide to those who demand it. And until we in society start cutting the demand, we in law enforcement will continue what we are doing," said Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett.

Three of the suspected top dealers of crack cocaine live in the region.

22-year-old Bianca Brooks and 23-year-old Thomas Pittman, both of Elmira.

And 20-year-old Terrell "haze" Warren of Johnson City.

Police say they will keep fighting to take dealers of any type of drug, whether it's crack cocaine or methamphetamine, off the streets.

Area police are looking for seven more people named in Operation Border Patrol.

The suspects mentioned were arraigned in Athens District Court.

The Bradford County District Attorney will prosecute each case.

The investigation was a joint effort with local, county and state law enforcement.

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