Federal prosecutors in Minnesota reported that two men have been charged with conspiring to distribute in excess of 2 pounds of heroin in St. Louis County. The 36-year-old and 39-year-old Duluth residents face multiple conspiracy, drug possession and weapons charges. The 15-count indictment was announced in an Aug. 30 press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota. The press release did not indicate where the men are being held or when they are scheduled to be arraigned.
The men were taken into custody on May 30 when officers attached to the Lake Superior Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force executed search warrants at two locations in Duluth. The searches of an apartment and hotel room allegedly led to the discovery of heroin and cocaine with a street value of approximately $350,000. Police also claim to have recovered $94,000 in currency and a loaded firearm.
The May 30 operation followed a two-month, multi-agency investigation involving the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the Duluth Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Evidence against the two men was gathered during a series of undercover drug buys. The 39-year-old man was already facing a murder charge and out on bail at the time of his arrest. According to media reports, the drug seizure was the largest ever recorded in Duluth.
Experienced criminal defense attorneys may seek the best deal available during plea negotiations when the evidence against their clients is strong and the charges they face carry lengthy mandatory minimum prison sentences. Federal prosecutors work under great pressure and with scant resources, and they may be willing to substantially lower the penalties for even serious drug charges to avoid the risk of arguing before a jury and the cost of a prolonged trial.
Source: The Deluth News Tribune, Drug bust biggest ever in Duluth; investigators nab 4.3 pounds of heroin, half-pound of cocaine, Staff report, June 3, 2019