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Affidavit: Hmong market vendors offered medical advice, dished out drugs

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A Ramsey County search warrant affidavit made available Monday includes reports of alleged under-the-table drug sales going on for years at the Hmongtown Marketplace in St. Paul.

The warrant executed last week at 217 Como Ave. found hundreds of pounds of syringes, unmarked or misbranded pills and drugs, including steroids, penicillin and opiates.

According to the affadavit, several people notified the Minnesota Department of Health of illnesses connected to drugs purchased at the community market, the Star Tribune reports.

One of the complainants said two people were selling medications and giving medical advice at three booths, one of which offered injections and had IVs set up behind a curtain.

Authorities are also trying to determine if cyanide, which was tied to two suicide cases, was also being sold at the market, the Pioneer Press says.

To build their case, St. Paul police and the sheriff's office conducted multiple undercover buys at the establishment.

In one instance, according to the Pioneer Press, an undercover cop approached a vendor about obtaining medicine for his girlfriend to have an abortion.

The vendor walked into a booth and retrieved an assortment of pills in an unmarked baggie that was stored in a bin under the table. The vendor then advised the officer on how many pills should be taken on day one, two, three and so on.

Another vendor provided an undercover officer with 20 vials of vitamin B1 and three syringes as a remedy for gaining weight.

The case is being reviewed for criminal charges. No arrests have been made.

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