With cannabis legalization legislation being proposed in Minnesota, it may appear that there is widespread support for proposals to end the criminalization of people found with marijuana. Recreational cannabis has already been legalized in 11 states, and Minnesota may join them in the future. Nevertheless, in 2019, drug enforcement teams in the state reported a "record year" of drug seizures, particularly marijuana and other cannabis products. The agencies also said that drug raids and seizures for heroin, cocaine and prescription pills almost doubled from 2018 and 2019, while cannabis seizures spiked by 62% in the same time period.
On Jan. 8, Minnesota authorities arrested three men for allegedly possessing and distributing methamphetamine. The trio was taken into custody in Hibbing.
On Nov. 21, Minnesota authorities arrested two men for allegedly distributing fentanyl in the Duluth area. The undercover operation led to the seizure of 80 grams of pure fentanyl powder, which is the largest amount ever confiscated in the state.
A Minnesota judge ruled on Oct. 8 that police did not have sufficient probable cause to search a camper in March. The ruling led to the release of two Montana men who were taken into custody when police discovered more than 900 pounds of marijuana in the camper. The men were facing up to 30 years in prison on drug possession charges.
On Sept. 23, Minnesota authorities confiscated nearly 77,000 illicit THC vaping cartridges from a residence in Coon Rapids. The bust is thought to be the one of the largest drug busts in state history.
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.
A man convicted of dealing drugs in 2015 became an unlikely civil rights hero on Aug. 14 when the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that the methods police used to obtain the crack cocaine used to convict him violated his rights against unreasonable searches and seizures guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment. The drugs were recovered after the man was sedated, strapped to a table and subjected to a cavity search of his rectum.
Two Minnesota residents were taken into custody on the morning of July 1 when deputies from the Olmsted County Sheriff's Office and officers from the Southeast Minnesota Violent Crime Enforcement Team executed a search warrant in Stewartville. The search was conducted as part of an ongoing narcotics investigation according to police reports.
Three people were taken into custody in Minnesota on June 13 on drug-related charges. The Central Minnesota Violent Offender Task Force conducted a search warrant at a home in Le Sauk Township and detained a 21-year-old woman, a 33-year-old man, and a 55-year-old man.
Minnesota State Patrol seized 28 pounds of methamphetamines during a traffic stop in Freeborn County on May 20. Two men were detained as a result of the seizure. Police estimate that the drugs have a street value between $196,000 and $280,000.