Off the streets: Hennepin County pursues drug dealers in warrants sweep


A rise in drug-related deaths especially from heroin was the focus of a Tuesday warrants sweep in Hennepin County, an effort that led to the capture of a fugitive identified as one of the county's most wanted.

WCCO reported that more than 75 police officers, sheriff deputies and FBI agents went looking for possible fugitives. Authorities identified some 155 people they will try to arrest this month on narcotics warrants. Many are repeat offenders with several active warrants. Sheriff Richard Stanek said that none were first-time offenders.

The Star Tribune reports deputies arrested John Thomas Elsenpeter, 28, in Crystal (pictured) on outstanding warrants for selling cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine, and called his arrest "the high point of the semiannual sweep." The county carries out warrants daily, but twice a year it schedules larger sweeps. Tuesday's effort involved a dozen metro-area law enforcement agencies.

The Sheriff’s Office did not release a total number of arrests made Tuesday because the county will continue looking for those wanted until the end of the month, according to Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office public information officer Jennifer Johnson.

The drug sweep comes as the county witnesses a troubling spike in heroin overdose fatalities in the county. There were 56 reported in 2013, and 17 as of April this year, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

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