Largest Heroin Bust in Region’s History Announced in Duluth
At Least 32 People Charged and Nearly a Million Dollars of Heroin Taken Out of Circulation
DULUTH, Minn. – Duluth police, state, and federal law enforcement agencies are celebrating the region’s largest heroin bust ever.
Twelve people have been charged in a forty-six count federal indictment and twenty more have been arrested for state crimes.
Lake Superior Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force members hope their first major heroin bust sends a message to drug dealers everywhere.
“If you’re going to follow in the footsteps of these defendants, please know it will be you next,” warned Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken.
The task force includes federal, state and local agencies working together to reduce crime in Northern Wisconsin and Minnesota.
“The opioid problem is growing, it’s moving, spreading north so we’re trying to head it off down here,” said St. Louis County Attorney Mark Rubin.
Local leaders say solving the opioid epidemic remains one of their top priorities.
“We do other things other than arrest people. We support treatment to take people out of that pool of addiction to lower the demand we’re experiencing here,” said Jeff Kazel, Commander of the Lake Superior Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force.
The bust announced Thursday took kilos of heroin and dozens of dealers out of circulation, but authorities are aware more could arrive to take their place.
“The dealers are coming from Chicago, so we’ve revealed today, and they are using local people to sell their heroin,” said Rubin. “They sell it to them and then they sell it.”
Law enforcement wants all drug dealers to know taking advantage of Northland addicts won’t be tolerated.
“We’re going to make this the most inhospitable place we can for people who think they can sell drugs in our community,” said Kazel.
Officials tell us in addition to the thirty-two already charged, more arrests related to this bust will likely be announced soon.