Drug Seizures on the Rise

  • Drug seizures for Minnesota’s Violent Crime Enforcement Teams increased in several major drug categories in 2019.
  • VCETs, which are partially funded by the Department of Public Safety Office of Justice Programs (DPS-OJP), are multijurisdictional task forces that investigate narcotics, gangs and violent crime. VCETs have increased their efforts to identify major drug traffickers, focusing on high-level dealers and suppliers.

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

 

Record Amount of Methamphetamine Seized

  • For the 12th straight year, VCETs seized a record amount of methamphetamine (starting with 68.47 pounds in 2007).
  • The 1,706 pounds of meth seized in 2019 is a 642 percent increase over the last five years.
  • At the height of the meth lab problem in 2003, there were 410 labs seized. In 2019, there were four labs discovered in Minnesota.
  • Most of the meth is coming from Mexican drug trafficking organizations.

 

Marijuana Concentrates Seizures on the Rise

  • The production of marijuana concentrates continues to grow: Minnesota has seen a 62 percent increase in seizures from 2018 to 2019.
  • Much of the product is being imported from states that have legalized marijuana.

Heroin

  • Investigators are finding that much of the heroin being seized contains fentanyl.
  • Fentanyl is a highly dangerous substance; a very small amount can be deadly.

o   Drug users need to be aware of the serious consequences of taking substances because what is actually in the drug is unknown.

  • VCETs are seizing pills, liquid and powders containing fentanyl or other synthetic opioids.

 

Cocaine Back on the Scene

  • After years of declining cocaine seizures, VCETs have significant increase in the last five years.
  • The increase is due in part to increased production of coca plants in South and Central America.