Police say four people, including a minor, were arrested after authorities found crystal meth, marijuana and cash during vehicle stops.
The FBI made the arrests after discovering 4 pounds of crystal methamphetamine and 3 pounds of marijuana during the stops on the Red Lake Indian Reservation Tuesday, the Red Lake Police Department said in a news release.
More than $5,000 in cash was also found, the release says, after the Red Lake Department of Public Safety conducted vehicle stops that afternoon, according to the release.
Police said three of the four suspects arrested were adults from the Twin Cities area, ranging from 19 to 25 years old. (Note: It is BringMeTheNews' policy to not name suspects until they have been charged.)
The fourth was a minor, though their age was not specified. All four individuals are being detained at the Beltrami County Jail, according to the release.
Meth, drugs on Minnesota reservations
Drug abuse on American Indian reservations has been an ongoing problem across the country, with the Association of Health Care Journalists reporting in 2012 that in some rural reservations, the rate of meth use has been as high as 30 percent.
The Department of Justice noted the National Native American Anti-Meth Campaign targeted 15 states, including Minnesota, with a national advertising push after a 2009 study showed meth rates for American Indian/Native Alaskan populations remain the highest of any ethnicity.
But as Hennepin County spokeswoman Rebecca Gilbuena told the Star Tribune, meth is not the only concern, as heroin use is also on the rise – linked to "several deaths" in Minneapolis early last year.
"While people from every demographic have been affected by the heroin and opioid crisis, the American Indian community has been the hardest hit," she said.
Last May, a federal grand jury indicted 41 people over their involvement in a multi-state drug trafficking ring that authorities say saw heroin distributed on two American Indian Reservations in Minnesota, including the Red Lake Indian Reservation.
According to the indictment, authorities say drugs – including heroin, methamphetamine, oxycodone, methadone and others – were bought in cities such as Minneapolis, Detroit and Chicago, then sold in and around the Red Lake and White Earth reservations in Minnesota starting in April 2014.
The most recent study from the National Institute on Drug Abuse found in the first half of 2013, 31.5 percent of total seized drugs in the Twin Cities were methamphetamines, compared to 22.6 percent the year before.
Looking nationwide, the report found the country's number of methamphetamine users increased by 60 percent from 2010 to 2013.