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Drug seizures in Minnesota rise in 2019

FILE - Heroin Photo: Hennepin County PSA
FILE - Heroin

Updated: February 11, 2020 02:05 PM

Drug seizures by Minnesota's Violent Crime Enforcement Teams (VCETs) increased in several major drug categories in 2019, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS).

DPS said Tuesday that VCETs put extra focus on identifying major drug traffickers, including high-level dealers and suppliers.

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In 2019, the amount of methamphetamine, prescription pills, hashish/marijuana wax and cocaine all increased, according to DPS. Only the amount of marijuana seized decreased from 2018.

VCET Drug Seizures

Drug

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

Methamphetamine (Pounds)

230.32

487.71

624.5

1,145

1,706

Prescription (Pills)

17,717

58,578

214,429

16,513

30,475

Hashish or Marijuana Wax (Pounds)

27.49

34.72

74.4

160.22

259

Heroin (Pounds)

18.11

10.9

42.23

24.98

55

Marijuana (Pounds)

2,268.92

2,194.11

4,323.4

2,675

1,300

Cocaine (Pounds)

12.89

37.43

35.65

59.18

106

Those amounts seized include a record amount of meth, which is the 12th straight year with a record amount of methamphetamine seized. The 1,706 pounds of meth is also a 642% increase over the last five years. DPS also said only four meth labs were discovered in the state last year, compared to 410 labs seized at the height of the problem in 2003.

And while the amount of marijuana seized was just under half of what was seized in 2018, the production of marijuana concentrates continues to grow, increasing by 62% from 2018 to 2019 after more than doubling the year before. DPS said much of the products are being imported from states that have legalized marijuana.

With heroin seizures in 2019 more than doubling from the previous year, DPS said investigators are also finding that much of it contains fentanyl, which is highly dangerous.

DPS said cocaine seizures had been declining, but have significantly increased over the past five years. The department attributes the increase in part due to the increased production of coca plants in South America and Central America.

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