April 17, 2014
Contact: Special Agent Sharon Santiago
Phone Number: (312) 353-7875
65 Arrested In Raids By Federal, State And Local Officials
MINNEAPOLIS - In a major enforcement operation starting in the pre-dawn hours this morning, the Drug Enforcement (DEA) and its law enforcement partners arrested dozens of individuals facing charges for their alleged roles in supplying and distributing heroin in Minnesota. Some of the individuals connected to this investigation were arrested in the days and weeks leading up to today's operation. Additional arrests are anticipated. Andrew M. Luger, United States Attorney for the District of Minnesota, and Jack Riley, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Midwest for the Drug Enforcement (DEA), announced the massive statewide enforcement action, known as "Operation Exile," which dismantled and disrupted heroin trafficking networks throughout the state of Minnesota.
Mr. Luger praised the DEA for bringing local, state and federal law enforcement together to coordinate efforts to combat heroin trafficking. "In recent years, high purity inexpensive heroin in powder form has been imported to Minnesota in large quantities. Operation Exile is a coordinated law enforcement campaign to investigate and prosecute heroin traffickers at all levels in Minnesota. Our goal is to make it as difficult as possible for drug cartels to bring heroin to our state."
Luger also emphasized the work the United States Attorney's Office is doing with the County Attorney's Offices. "State and Federal prosecutors are working in close coordination to make certain that the people who distribute this poison in our state are charged and brought to justice. Our goal is to tackle the problem of heroin addiction before heroin traffickers become embedded in our community. Operation Exile is an important step in making Minnesota off limits to large scale heroin distributors," said Luger.
"I'm proud of the work done by all of our law enforcement partners who worked tirelessly to achieve these results, and I'm confident that with our continued partnership we will have increasing success," said SAC Riley. "This operation is representative of the commitment and cooperation that is necessary to dismantle drug trafficking networks. Today's arrests should serve as a notice that the DEA and its law enforcement partners stand shoulder to shoulder in our commitment and we will use every available legal avenue to target these networks, to make our communities safer," he added.
Background on "Operation Exile" -
The rise in prescription drug abuse and the consequent increase in heroin addiction in Minnesota is a significant problem. In Minnesota, from 2004 to 2011 emergency room visits for heroin abuse tripled.
In 2012, because of the escalation in heroin overdoses and related deaths, DEA intensified its focus on heroin trafficking and began compiling and analyzing heroin related information collected by its state and local law enforcement partners. Working together with local law enforcement and in cooperation with the U.S. Attorney's Office, DEA linked several investigations previously thought to be unconnected and successfully disrupted/dismantled heroin trafficking networks operating throughout the state of Minnesota.
In December of 2013, DEA launched "Operation Exile" to make an immediate impact on the heroin trade in Minnesota. Participating in the initiative were DEA Minneapolis, DEA Fargo, FBI, ATF, HSI, USMS, National Guard, St. Paul Police Department, Southwest Hennepin Drug Task Force, Southwest Metro Drug Task Force, Northwest Metro Drug Task Force, Ramsey County Violent Crime Enforcement Team, West Metro Drug Task Force, Anoka-Hennepin Drug Task Force, Hennepin County Violent Offender Task Force, Lake Superior Drug & Violent Crime Task Force, Washington County Drug Task Force, Minnesota River Valley Drug Task Force, Duluth PD, Maple Grove Police Department, Rochester Police Department, Plymouth Police Department, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Anoka County, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Washington County, Dakota County, St. Louis County and Olmsted County.
This Morning's Operation -
Early this morning, hundreds of law enforcement officers executed search warrants and made the arrests throughout Minnesota. A number of additional enforcement activities, in support of Operation Exile, took place prior to today's activity. This is an ongoing operation and additional arrests and seizures are anticipated. To date, Operation Exile has resulted in seizures totaling:
- Approximately 2.5 kilograms of heroin
- 65 arrests
- Seven firearms
- Approximately $250,000 in alleged drug proceeds
UPDATE: As of April 18, 2014, a total of 80 arrests connected to this investigation have been made. -
The public is reminded that complaints and indictments contain only charges and are not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Parents and children are encouraged to educate themselves about the dangers of drugs by visiting DEA's interactive websites at www.JustThinkTwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.