2022 CRDVOTF report
2022 was another busy year for the Cannon River Drug and Violent Offender Task Force with agents opening 154 cases and executing approximately 178 controlled substance-related search warrants, resulting in 128 arrests.
These investigations netted a total of nearly 17,600 grams (38.8 pounds) of controlled substances, including methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, powder fentanyl, psilocybin mushrooms, MDMA (ecstasy/molly) and raw marijuana/marijuana wax.
Approximately 3,081 counterfeit prescription pills containing the powerful opioid fentanyl were also seized.
In all, the substances seized have a street value of $956,358.
During the investigations, agents seized $154,131 in U.S. currency related to profits from the sale of the controlled substances and 18 firearms.
The most notable seizure came in June in the city of Le Sueur in which agents located a large quantity of controlled substances, including 144 grams of cocaine, 314 MDMA (ecstasy) tablets and approximately 2 pounds of marijuana. Also found was a 9mm handgun stolen out of Tennessee and $108,017 in suspected drug proceeds.
The most common drug found in our community continues to be methamphetamine. In 2022, the task force seized approximately 4,160 grams (9 pounds) of meth. Over the years, methamphetamine has become much less expensive. In 2017, an ounce (28 grams) cost anywhere from $700-$1,000. Agents today are arranging those same purchases for $300-$600.
The street value of methamphetamine seized by the task force in 2022 was $366,936.
Cocaine remains prevalent in our community. Approximately 161 grams of cocaine was seized by the task force over the course of the year.
Amount of other controlled substances seized in 2022:
MDMA: 316 dosage units
Psilocybin mushrooms: 588 grams
Various prescription pills (Adderall, Oxycodone, etc.): 283 pills
The opioid epidemic continues to affect our communities with a number of overdoses arising from fentanyl use. Agents have seen and seized both white powder fentanyl and blue fentanyl pills. The blue pills, often labeled M30, are most commonly distributed by drug dealers across the country and in our area. These pills replicate a prescription oxycodone, but typically contain an unknown amount of fentanyl, often leading to overdoses and deaths.
In 2022 the task force seized approximately 3,081 fentanyl pills. These pills are typically being purchased for approximately $4-$5 apiece in the metro by local dealers and brought back to our communities and sold for approximately $15-$25 a pill.
The most notable seizure of 2022 was in May where task force agents passed on information to Faribault Patrol officers regarding an individual involved in the sale of fentanyl who also possessed firearms. Faribault officers later located that individual and utilized a K-9 who alerted on the vehicle. During a search of the vehicle, officers found approximately 3,000 pills suspected of containing fentanyl as well as a nearby firearm.
Another trend is the presence of fentanyl in other narcotics such as methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin. This creates a problem for addicts who unknowingly consume fentanyl, increasing the chances of overdose and death.
Heroin seizures in our area appear to be trending downward as fentanyl has taken over. While it’s similar in price, fentanyl is 50 times stronger than heroin.
Agents continue to assist in investigations regarding overdose deaths. In February 2023, a Faribault man was charged in Rice County with third-degree murder for providing controlled substances contributing to the overdose death of a Northfield man. Agents worked diligently with Northfield investigators and patrol officers, and the public to bring a successful conclusion to the investigation.
In 2022, the task force also focused on providing support, training and education to the community about the effects of illegal drug use and abuse.
Agents made presentations to more than 400 people in Rice and Le Sueur counties at local businesses, government entities, educational institutions and civic organizations, discussing drug trends and the effects of drug abuse in our communities.