Two people charged in Eveleth drug bust

Two people have been charged out of Eveleth for their role in multiple controlled substance crimes.

The St. Louis County Attorney’s Office says 50-year-old Juan Pedro Alapisco-Ochoa and 52-year-old Rachel Michelle Lofgren were charged Monday. Alapisco-Ochoa has been charged with 1st degree sales of methamphetamine and 2nd degree sales of fentanyl. Lofgren has been charged with conspiracy to 1st and 2nd degree sales of a controlled substance.

The charges come after an investigation by the Lake Superior Violent Offender Task Force (LSVOTF). The investigation revealed both suspects were involved in the sale and distribution of controlled substances from their residence on the 600 block of Douglas Avenue in Eveleth.

During a search warrant on March 9, approximately 1 pound of suspected methamphetamine and 170 suspected “M30” fentanyl pills were seized, along with digital scales and other evidence indicating illicit drug distribution.

Law enforcement officers say they are dealing with millions of fraudulent “M30” pills across the country, that are currently being pressed in Mexico and then smuggled into the United States. These counterfeit pills are often blue in color and stamped with “M30” markings consistent with oxycodone, however, subsequent analysis reveals that the pills actually contain fentanyl; an extremely dangerous synthetic drug that is fatal in very small doses.

Authorities say Alapisco-Ochoa gave a false name and identification information to investigators and jail staff. Fingerprint analysis revealed he was currently in the United States illegally from Mexico, and is facing deportation. St. Louis County says the Department of Homeland Security verified Alapisco-Ochoa has previously been deported numerous times.

The County says this investigation highlights the fact that that Iron Range communities are not immune to the current nationwide issues relating to illegal immigration, or to the massive influx of methamphetamine and fentanyl coming across our southern border.

The LSVOTF encourages people to get to know their neighbors and the officers that serve your community. If you see suspicious or illegal drug activity, you’re asked to share that information with local law enforcement agency. If you are struggling with addiction yourself, please reach out for help. The Arrowhead Regional Crisis Line is 844-772-4724.