DULUTH - Close to two dozen arrests have been made in the Twin Ports, as authorities break up a narcotics ring.
On Wednesday, the Lake Superior Drug & Violent Crime Task Force, with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Marshals Service and Duluth Police Department commenced "Operation Brownstone."
This operation was a concentrated effort to combat the recent increase in heroin trafficking and abuse and was named after brown powder heroin, the type most seen in the Twin Ports.
Heroin, along with prescription opiate abuse, has quickly become one of the most serious drug concerns statewide.
Heroin overdoses, to include deaths, have become increasingly common.
Task Force Investigators observed an increase in the availability and trafficking of heroin as a result of their recent success in combating the prescription opiate flow into the Twin Ports.
That investigation, tagged as operation "Pills in a Box," primarily targeted the prescription opiates Opana and Oxycontin.
Twenty-seven defendants were indicted in Federal Court upon completion of that operation and to date; twenty-six of those defendants have pled guilty to various trafficking, possession and weapons charges.
On Thursday, June 7th, 2012, the Task Force is reporting 14 arrests of the over 25 subjects of the "Operation Brownstone" investigation. Also, 2 more were already in custody before the operation started.
Additionally, 8 others were arrested for unrelated warrants during the operation, for a total of 24 arrests made related to this operation.
The Lake Superior Drug & Violent Crime Task Force is a multi-jurisdictional unit comprised of members of the Duluth Police Department, Superior Police Department, St. Louis County Sheriff's Office, Lake County Sheriff's Office as well as its newest members, the Cloquet Police Department and Carlton County Sheriff's Office.
All arrested were lodged at the Saint Louis County Jail except the Juvenile who was lodged at the Arrowhead Juvenile Center.