Over 65 Charged In Largest Heroin Trafficking Investigation In Minnesota History
MINNEAPOLIS— Andrew Luger, United States Attorney for the District of Minnesota, and Jack Riley, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), announced today that over 65 heroin distributors were arrested and/or charged with state and federal drug trafficking crimes throughout the State of Minnesota. The charges are part of a joint local, state and federal drug trafficking investigation, named “Operation Exile.”
The investigation involved agents and officers from the DEA, FBI, ATF, ICE, U.S. Marshals Service, Bureau of Criminal Apprehension as well as the Sheriff’s and County Attorney’s Offices from Hennepin, Ramsey, Dakota, Anoka, Washington, St. Louis and Olmsted counties. The local police departments in all seven counties were involved as well. In addition to the over 65 arrests, agents and officers conducted dozens of search warrants at locations throughout the state to gather evidence in support of the heroin trafficking prosecutions that will follow today’s events.
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.”
The United States Attorney’s Office has been working with law enforcement at the local, state and federal levels to prepare for Operation Exile. Federal and State prosecutors will determine over the coming days which jurisdiction will prosecute the approximately 65 traffickers charged today.
Luger noted how heroin abuse has become a significant problem in a number of states around the country. Luger stated that law enforcement is determined to prevent Minnesota from becoming the next state to face such a crisis.
“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.
An indictment is a determination by a grand jury that there is probable cause to believe that offenses have been committed by a defendant. A defendant, of course, is presumed innocent until he or she pleads guilty or is proven guilty at trial.