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Federal prosecutors and local law enforcement announced Friday that recent raids targeting armed offenders and drug dealers has yielded multiple arrests, and seen dozens of high-powered firearms seized. 

In a press conference, United States Attorney Andrew Luger said that as well as 35 "high-risk violent offenders" having been charged in recent weeks, there were a further 25 arrests made this week following separate raids in the Twin Cities and Rochester.

In the Twin Cities, 15 people were arrested and 32 firearms – including machine guns – were seized, while in Rochester a sophisticated methamphetamine operation was broken up, with 10 people arrested and more guns seized.

Many of those arrested are facing more than 30 years in prison, according to Luger.

He added that, even with the increase in arrests, crimes relating to shootings, carjackings and gang activity remain at near "all-time highs" in the state's history. 

Rising crime in the Twin Cities, which mirrors trends in many other major metro areas since the start of the pandemic, prompted the increased involvement of federal law enforcement via a crackdown launched by Luger in May, as well as enhanced state police involvement at the order of Gov. Tim Walz.

Luger said weapons being found are more "militaristic," including handguns that have been "turned into fully-automatic machine guns."

"What law enforcement is encountering on the streets of Minneapolis, St. Paul and other cities today, is far more disturbing than even the alarming numbers show," Luger said. "By their actions, their weapons and their words, violent offenders are displaying an utter disdain for the law and complete disregard for human life."

Of the guns, Luger said: "These machine guns are having a devastating and destructive effect on our communities." He also said they have seen an increased use of body armor, laser scopes and extended magazines in relation to the violent crime.

The partnership between local and federal agencies to focus on curbing violent crime began earlier this year. Luger said in May that his office would expand its workload and hire more prosecutors, and begin charging carjackers with federal crimes – which carry stiffer sentences.

Luger said that one of the main crimes being prosecuted by his office since the start of the crackdown is the distribution of fentanyl. According to Luger, one recent arrest involving "violent drug dealers" happened in Rochester, where DEA agents and local police found "high-powered firearms" that dealers were using to protect their operation.

Also at the press conference Friday was Amelia Huffman, Minneapolis' Interim Police Chief. While there have been signs that violent crime is plateauing in the city, there has still been a significant increase since the start of the pandemic.

Huffman said that as of Friday, 673 firearms have been recovered in the city this year. She also said in 2022, 343 carjackings have been reported compared to 277 at the same time last year.

Other Minneapolis crime statistics Huffman noted at the press conference, include more than 5,800 calls this year reporting shots fired, while 47 of the 58 confirmed homicides in the city this year have been shootings.

"Gun violence prevents people from thriving in our city. And the neighborhood's disproportionately impacted are our most diverse," Huffman noted, adding that 60% of gun violence happens within two police precincts.

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