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WDAY: The News Leader

Published April 18, 2014, 08:44 PM

Minnesota's largest heroin bust in history

Minneapolis, MN (WDAY TV) - 65 people have been arrested in what's being called Minnesota's largest heroin bust in history.

By: Kay Cooley, WDAY

Minneapolis, MN (WDAY TV) - 65 people have been arrested in what's being called Minnesota's largest heroin bust in history.

In the metro, those tackling the heroin problem say much of it is coming to Fargo/Moorhead from the Twin Cities - so much it's now top priority for law enforcement.

Lt. Brad Penas/Red River Valley Task Force: “We have a heroin problem, no doubt about it.”

Heroin is here and Minnesota offers aiming to stop it, are fighting to keep up.

Penas: “It's our number one concern right now.”

On Thursday Minnesota saw its largest heroin crackdown to date- 65 arrested, and 2.5 kilograms seized in a bust dubbed "Project Exile"

One local law enforcement hopes it will stop more heroin from coming here.

Penas: “Whenever you can knock off a source of supply or whenever you can knock off some of the primary targets in your community, it takes a while for people to get reestablished.”

Darcy Nelson/Lost Son to Heroin: “Even if it helps a handful of people, at least it's something.”

When Darcy and John Nelson first heard news of the bust…

John Nelson/Lost Son to Heroin: “That's huge.”

For them, it hit much closer to home.

Darcy: “It affects us, it affects the Fargo/Moorhead area, it affects other surrounding areas.”

Their son Josh lost his battle with the dangerous drug in an overdose. He was only 21.

Darcy: “We're pretty sure that it came from Minneapolis.”

I-94 acts as a fast lane for dealers from the cities. They drive this highway with mass quantities of heroin to hand out to local distributors.

Penas: “The drug organizations, the cartels that are responsible for bringing this into the community, they're not going to stop.”

So even though the bust might act as a temporary fix it's the drug's demand and power.

Darcy: “He had overdosed before and survived, but he still kept doing it.”

Penas: “I think that this stuff is just going to continue to come into our community and if we ever turn our back on it or believe the problem is gone away, we've kind of lost the battle so to speak.”

A battle that changes life for families like the Nelson's and takes life away from addicts like their son.

John: "It will never be easy, never."

Officials are expecting more arrests related to "Project Exile”.

Here Penas says they have started several ongoing heroin investigations in our own community where people should be indicted in the future.

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