Minneapolis Park Police discuss fentanyl bust, arrest in Elliot Park
Officials with the Minneapolis Park Police Department gathered on Thursday morning to discuss details of a fentanyl bust and subsequent arrest earlier this week.
On Dec. 23, law enforcement with Park Police were patrolling Elliot Park at 7:48 p.m. when they tried to stop a car in connection with a federal arrest warrant, according to a press release from the department.
All four of the people in the car ran from law enforcement, but one was arrested — 28-year-old Bernard Augusta Mack, of St. Paul. During his arrest, police say officials found 1,788 pills that field-tested positive for fentanyl.
Mack was charged on Wednesday by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office with one count of first-degree aggravated controlled substances, according to court records.
Officials say Elliot Park has been a “focus zone” for law enforcement due to the number of violent incidents throughout 2023.
Mack’s charging documents state that at the time of his arrest he had equipment that indicated he intended to sell the fentanyl pills.
Court records show that in 2015, Mack was convicted of fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance and misdemeanor theft. He was found guilty of misdemeanor theft again in 2017 and was convicted of possessing stolen property in 2018. In 2020, Mack was convicted of illegally possessing a firearm.
Mack was previously charged with second-degree murder and illegal gun possession for a fatal shooting on New Year’s Day in 2023 that marked the first gun death of the year in Minneapolis. He was acquitted of those charges in June.
Jason Ohotto, chief of Minneapolis Park Police, provided more details on the fentanyl bust and arrest during a press conference on Thursday at 10:30 a.m.
“I’m grateful for the outstanding and proactive work by our Park Police officers and investigators. This quantity of fentanyl is extraordinary for a street-level drug arrest and could have harmed or killed countless people,” Ohotto said.
Chief Ohotto said fentanyl is a significant contributing factor to violence in the city. Since the beginning of the year, Minneapolis Park Police have been called to Elliot Park 13 times for serious, violent crimes. The park is often used by students at the nearby college, North Central University, Ohotto said.
Mack is due in court at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday for a first appearance.