DULUTH - On Thursday, May 24th, 2012, the Lake Superior Drug & Violent Crime Task Force along with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, received an award from the Minnesota State Association of Narcotics Investigators in recognition and appreciation of their outstanding contributions to Minnesota drug law enforcement.
This award was presented during the M.S.A.N.I. Spring Conference in Nisswa, MN.
The nomination for this award was based on the hard work and ultimate success of the task force's recent opiate investigation specifically targeting the prescription pain killer Opana as well as Oxycontin, heroin, marijuana and firearms trafficking in the Twin Ports.
The communities in and around the Twin Ports area were experiencing increases in overdose reports in addition to increased violent crime and property crime as a result of the influx and trafficking of these drugs.
The 18 month investigation included over 70 controlled purchases as well as the execution of multiple State and Federal search warrants.
On September 20th, 2011, twenty-seven individuals were indicted for violations of Federal narcotics and firearms laws as a result of this action.
To date, twenty-five of the Federal defendants have pled guilty to various charges. In addition, several individuals were charged and have pled guilty to State charges.
As a result of the investigation, law enforcement has noticed a severe decline in the supply of Opana pills to the Twin Ports.
This has led to a major decline in the illegal sales and abuse of Opana pills within the communities served by the Lake Superior Drug & Violent Crime Task Force.
The LSDVCTF is a multi-jurisdictional task force comprised of staff from the Duluth Police Department, St. Louis County Sheriff's Office, Superior Police Department, Lake County Sheriff's Office and the Hermantown Police Department.
This investigation was completed in conjunction with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.