Duluth Authorities Make ‘Historic’ Drug Bust
Police and Lake Superior Drug and Violent Crime Task Force make largest seizure in city's history.
DULUTH, Minn.- The Duluth Police Department and the Lake Superior Drug and Violent Crime Task Force are hot off a massive drug bust, that’s being called the largest in the city’s history.
After a two-month long investigation, two suspects–39-year-old Otis Weaver of St. Paul and 36-year-old Eric Black–are behind bars.
Eric Black recently moved to Duluth from Chicago, where he was out on bail for a 1st degree murder charge.
The two are charged with aggravated 1st degree sale of a controlled substance, for possession of 4.3 pounds of heroine and half-a-pound of cocaine, with a street value of $350,000.
“This doubles what we had in the past. We had a kilo or about 2 pounds, 2.1 pound seizure in 2013,” said Commander of the Lake Superior Drug and Violent Crime Task Force, Jeff Kazel.
To give a perspective of the sheer amount of the drugs, Kazel said the average user amount of heroine is 1/10 of a gram. The suspects were found with 4.3 pounds, equivalent to about 2,000 grams.
“This will greatly effect those that are suffering from addiction,” said Kazel.
The bust happened after police and the task force executed search warrants for an apartment in the 1500 block of Kenwood Avenue and a hotel room in the 200 block of West First Street.
The suspects were also found with a loaded firearm and $94,623 in U.S. currency.
Authorities say with that much money and that much drugs, odds are they also sold some, fueling the region’s opioid crisis.
“There was some level of distribution that certainly happened that manufactured that amount of money,” Chief Mike Tusken said. “I would say yes, they likely did.”
“They certainly weren’t able to get rid of the entire source supply, because we certainly found them with a substantial amount of heroin left.”
The two men are faced with no less than 7 years, and no more than 40 years of prison time, or a $1,000,000 fine.
As for Eric Black’s Chicago murder charge, Duluth Investigators are reaching out to the Chicago Police Department to get that bail revoked.
“This is not a problem we can arrest our way out of.”
According to Chief Tusken, now is the time for the public to start talking about opioid addiction.
“We’re encouraging people to ask questions,” the Chief said. “We are all in this together. This is not just certainly a police issue, we all need to do our part to make sure that we are keeping our community members safe.”