Duluth Police Department announces largest heroin bust in its history

Two men have been arrested in connection to the seizure.
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A raid in Duluth yielded the biggest heroin bust in the city's history, with $350,000 of the drug seized along with almost $100,000 in cash.

The raid happened at an apartment in the 1500 block of Kenwood Avenue and at a hotel room in the 200 block of West 1st Street on May 30.

It follows a 2-month investigation into a drug trafficking organization suspected of being behind the sale of heroin in the Northland region.

Some 4.3 pounds of heroin were seized along with a half-pound of cocaine, a loaded gun and $94,623 in cash.

The value of the heroin makes it the largest seizure of its kind in Duluth Police Department and Lake Superior Drug and Violent Crime Task Force history.

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"Our Duluth Police Department is constantly conducting excellent work in investigating these incidents and I support and thank them for what they do,”" said Duluth Mayor Emily Larson. 

"As we all know, we cannot arrest our way out of these problems, and I am proud that our team, and our community, has invested in outreach, education, and treatment resources to get people suffering addiction what they need. I stand with our entire community in our shared commitment to continue to tackle this problem head on."

Two men, aged 39 and 36, have been arrested for 1st-degree drug offenses, and are being held in St. Louis County Jail pending charges.

The 36-year-old man was out on bail at the time of his arrest for a 1st-degree murder charge out of Chicago, with Minnesota police in contact with Chicago authorities as the investigation continues.

"The Lake Superior Drug and Violent Crime Task Force is an essential piece to our holistic approach to solving Duluth’s drug problem," said Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken.

"Because of their expert investigations and relentless work, the LSDVCTF is removing the poisons from our streets that are peddled to our citizens."

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But Tusken added that while the work cracking down on dealers will continue relentlessly, his department recognizers that "users are not criminals."

"We’re spending a tremendous amount of effort in going after those who sell those poisons to remove the supply from our community," he said.

"Due to the high volume of opioids intercepted in this case, we believe this will greatly affect those suffering from addiction."

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22 snared in Duluth-area heroin sweep

A sting six months in the making dubbed “Operation Brownstone” — named after brown powder heroin, the type most seen in the Twin Ports area — resulted in 22 arrests Wednesday. Duluth-area law enforcement officers have been battling an increase in heroin trafficking and abuse. Police anticipated making more arrests Wednesday night.