Updated: October 22, 2020 06:19 PM
The Duluth Police Department has revealed the arrest of dozens of people across the state in what they call the biggest drug bust they've had.
Police say the mastermind behind it was 36-year-old Ricky Antoinne Osborne of Rochester. According to a criminal complaint, Osborne was one of the heads of a group of 'Black P Stone Nation' gang members who distributed heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, fentanyl throughout greater Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin.
A total of 35 people have been arrested in Duluth, Rochester, and the Iron Range. Twelve were arrested in Rochester. Another 12 arrested in Duluth, six on the Iron Range, and five from other areas, including Hermantown, Esko and Owatonna.
Arrest warrants have been issued for an additional 10 people involved in the case. Five of the people involved in the case were already behind bars.
"These are people that are in the Department of Corrections. You have gang members that are actively recruiting people out of the Department of Corrections to facilitate their drug business out in the communities," said Duluth Police Lt. Jeff Kazel.
"It is impossible to come into this town or to operate an illegal drug activity without detection. This is not a place where you can be successful without detection and ultimately this outcome will happen," said Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken.
"Without question the arrests that were made this week involved some of the most dangerous work law enforcement is called upon to do," said St. Louis County Attorney Mark Rubin.
Osborne has been charged with six felony charges in the State District Court in Duluth, including three counts of conspiracy to commit aggravated control substance crime.
Police said they have been investigating this case since December 2019 and said multiple agencies were involved in the case.
According to police, Osborne made regular trips to Duluth and is believed to be responsible for a large distribution of drugs in the Twin Ports and greater St. Louis County. An estimated total price of the product and money made by the drug trafficking organization dating from January to October this year has a total value of over $1 million.
During the seizure police collected 1.16 pounds of heroin/fentanyl, 2.66 pounds of methamphetamine and one loaded handgun and stolen rifle.
Police said the investigation involved several different methods like controlled purchases of the drugs, surveillance, statements from confidential informants, search warrants, court ordered GPS tracking devices, phone toll analysis, court ordered pen register/trap and traces and phone location data, and court ordered interception of electronic and wire communications.
"We have made a substantial dent into the supply of these poisons that are reaching our streets," said Tusken.
"This is a time where we are experiencing at least an overdose a day in the Duluth area. I think 24 people have died already. It's such a tragic situation people are taking advantage of," said Rubin.
Osborne is being held at the Olmsted County Detention Center. His first court appearance is Friday Oct. 23 at 11 a.m.
Here is a link with more information on the arrests made and other suspects being sought.
Police are asking the public to call 911 or the Lake Superior Drug and Violent Crime Task Force number 218-730-5750 if they have any additional information on the suspects being sought.
Updated: October 22, 2020 06:19 PM
Created: October 22, 2020 01:04 PM
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