Five people were charged with heroin possession and sale in Duluth Friday, according to the Duluth News Tribune. Police raided an upstairs apartment on East Fourth Street Wednesday morning and arrested Devon Freeman,23, Barbara Gilliam,33, Kendara Shivers,21, and Andriana Norwood,20. Police found 10 grams of packaged heroin, a digital scale, a loaded handgun, ammunition and more than $4000 in cash.
Malcolm Johnson, 41, was arrested later Wednesday. Police said they found 6 grams of heroin on him at the time.
The charges come at a time when state officials are increasingly worried about heroin.
MPR News reported last month that the State Department of Human Services was starting an education and prevention campaign to raise awareness of opiate addiction.
A biannual report showed heroin dominant, and methamphetamine making a comeback in 2012. The author of that report, Carol Falkowski, told MPR News that emergency room visits are way up in the Twin Cities, and that heroin poses a special risk in greater Minnesota. "Once a drug takes hold in rural America, I think it's very hard to reverse that trend. It's hard to get it un-entrenched," she said.
WCCO reported in June that more than a dozen people in the Twin Cities had died from heroin overdose. It quoted officials who called heroin in the metro area "the strongest and purest" in the country. Those officials said Minnesota is rife with heroin because it is a relatively new market for dealers.
Also in June, TPT aired a documentary about the growing problem of heroin use in Minnesota.