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21 charged with trafficking drugs in northern Minnesota

January 27, 2022 GMT

DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — Twenty-one members of a drug-trafficking organization have been charged with transporting and distributing fentanyl and heroin in northern Minnesota, according to officials.

Duluth police said that between June and December of 2021, traffickers brought large amounts of drugs from Illinois to midlevel dealers and consumers in Carlton and St. Louis counties.

Fourteen people have been arrested and warrants have been issued for seven more.

The Lake Superior Drug and Violent Crime Task Force discovered that traffickers last year transported and sold more than 10 pounds of heroin and fentanyl, which had a street value of $725,600, authorities said.

Court documents say the Chicago man who led the organization sold drugs to undercover officers and was coordinating meetings between customers and his runners.

In addition to drug trafficking, some members of the ring are also charged with robbery, attempted arson, arson and fraudulent use of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, the Star Tribune reported.

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Three of the 21 accused in the case are also charged with conspiracy to commit arson in the first degree for a plan to burn down a duplex in Duluth, a plan that was stopped by investigators who were monitoring the residence.

Two of the three are also charged with setting a fire at an apartment building in Duluth last October. According to authorities, a tenant told investigators he had been beaten with a pistol before his apartment was set on fire with a blow torch.

The resident of the apartment had worked for organization. but didn’t want to anymore, according to court records.