MINNEAPOLIS - Thirteen people are facing felony drug charges after Minneapolis Police and officers from several Twin Cities suburbs broke up a major heroin ring.
The suspects are tied to a Mexican criminal organization operating out of Chicago. Most of those charged are related to each other and are members of the Gangster Disciples street gang.
Officers from the Minneapolis Police Department's Fifth Precinct Community Response Team (CRT) and members of the DEA Task Force and metro police agencies executed six high-risk search warrants Thursday morning. The raids culminate a 15 month undercover investigation into mobile heroin dealing that has plagued Minneapolis and the metro area with overdoses.
The warrants, served in Apple Valley, Burnsville, Bloomington, Richfield and Minneapolis, netted $11,000 in cash, two handguns, several vehicles and 3 ounces of heroin with a street value of approximately $17,000.
Minneapolis and other parts of the greater Twin Cities area have seen a major spike in heroin overdoses over the past 18 months. In 2012 alone 10 people have died from heroin overdoses in the City of Minneapolis. As recently as last week a Fifth Precinct street supervisor found a man lying in the street still with injection equipment attached to him. Fortunately the supervisor performed first aid until EMS arrived and the man survived.
Investigators say the crew of heroin dealers targeted over the past 15 months was selling exceptionally pure heroin in the 70-90% range. Typically heroin sold on the street has a 30-50% purity level. Heroin use has been on the rise as more and more people with addictions to painkillers have found these drugs harder to get.
Thursday's seizure of three ounces of heroin would account for 800 heroin doses that have been taken out of the supply chain.
During the investigation the Fifth Precinct Community Response Team officers posed as heroin users more than 20 times to make purchases from the dealers, who typically were operating out of cars in the southwest area of the city. CRT officers used the Fifth Precinct's Crime Prevention Specialists to contact citizen's groups to solicit calls when mobile dealing operations were observed in their neighborhoods.
Of the 13 suspects charged in the operation, three of those charged are already in-custody in unrelated cases, eight were arrested yesterday and two are still being sought. Most are charged with First Degree Sale of a Controlled Substance, First Degree Conspiracy to Distribute a Controlled Substance or First Degree Aiding and Abetting the Distribution of a Controlled Substance.
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