Daniel E. Zola, Esquire
Deputy District Attorney of Investigation
Luzerne County Deputy District Attorney Daniel Zola is a graduate of Hazleton Area High School. He received his Undergraduate Degree from Kings College, Wilkes-Barre, and his law degree from the Widener University School of Law, Harrisburg. Zola has served as a Luzerne County Assistant District Attorney since 2005.
As an assistant district attorney, Zola has prosecuted thousands of cases. He specializes in homicide cases. In 2011, Zola was the first assistant in recent times to utilize a coroner’s inquest jury to investigate the staged suicide of Matthew Ryan Gailie. The coroner’s inquest was a success and the verdict rendered by the inquest jury panel led to the immediate filing of criminal homicide charges against Gailie’s ex-girlfriend, Jessica Alinsky. Zola prosecuted the case and convicted Alinsky of the murder.
Zola was also the first assistant in Luzerne County to extradite a defendant from Mexico for criminal homicide. Maria Brea, a 32 year old mother of two disappeared on December 14, 2012. Brea’s body was discovered on December 18, 2012 hidden in the attic of her own home, her body meticulously wrapped and bound in plastic and duct tape. Brea was brutally strangled to death. Zola charged Brea’s ex-boyfriend, Oscar Lozano Garcia, with the crime. His investigation revealed that Lozano Garcia had committed the crime and then fled the country, crossing into Mexico on December 17, 2012. Federal authorities eventually located Lozano Garcia in Puebla, Mexico which is approximately 85 miles southeast of Mexico City. On January 27, 2014, Lozano Garcia was captured by U.S. Marshals and held on a provisional arrest warrant prepared by Zola. Zola then worked with federal authorities and the Mexican government to secure extradition back to Luzerne County. Zola convicted Lozano Garcia of first degree murder on July 1, 2016.
Zola has secured numerous homicide convictions, including five cases of first and second degree murder. Each of those defendants are now serving life sentences. He has also secured numerous convictions of lesser degrees of homicide by way of guilty plea.
In addition to his homicides, in 2014 Zola was promoted to the position of section chief of the firearm and narcotic unit within the office. In that capacity, he supervised a team of six assistant district attorneys specializing in all prosecutions related to illegal narcotic trafficking and firearm cases.
In 2017, Zola was promoted to the position of Deputy District Attorney of Narcotics. In this capacity, he serves as special prosecutor to the newly formed Luzerne County Drug Task Force. Zola coordinates and assists law enforcement officers with investigations into illegal narcotic trafficking organizations throughout the county. In addition, Zola continues as section chief to the office’s firearm and narcotic unit.
Zola is also in charge of the asset forfeiture division of the District Attorney’s Office. In this capacity, he is responsible for forfeiting money and property from drug dealers. The funds forfeited are then used to financially support, strengthen and combat efforts to take down drug dealers and gang members engaged in drug dealing activities.
Zola is a member of, and solicitor for, the Pennsylvania Narcotics Officers Association, a statewide organization of law enforcement officers committed solely to aggressively fighting the ongoing battle against drug trafficking and the dealers who profit from the business. Zola is certified by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and an active member of the Pennsylvania District Attorney’s Association, as well as the Pennsylvania and Luzerne County Bar Associations.