Drug seizures on the rise in Minnesota

Published: Feb. 11, 2020 at 10:18 AM CST
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Minnesota authorities are making more drug busts.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety says drug seizures for Minnesota’s Violent Crime Enforcement Teams increased in several major drug categories in 2019.

VCETs, which are partially funded by the Department of Public Safety Office of Justice Programs, are multijurisdictional task forces that investigate narcotics, gangs and violent crime. VCETs have increased their efforts to identify major drug traffickers, focusing on high-level dealers and suppliers.

Officials say for the 12th straight year, VCETs seized a record amount of methamphetamine (starting with 68.47 pounds in 2007).

The 1,706 pounds of meth seized in 2019 is a 642 percent increase over the last five years.

At the height of the meth lab problem in 2003, there were 410 labs seized. In 2019, there were four labs discovered in Minnesota.

Most of the meth is coming from Mexican drug trafficking organizations.

The production of marijuana concentrates continues to grow: Minnesota has seen a 62 percent increase in seizures from 2018 to 2019.

Much of the product is being imported from states that have legalized marijuana.

Investigators are also finding that much of the heroin being seized contains fentanyl.

Fentanyl is a highly dangerous substance; a very small amount can be deadly.

It is also noteworthy that after years of declining cocaine seizures, VCETs have significant increase in the last five years.

Authorities say the increase is due in part to increased production of coca plants in South and Central America.