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UPDATE: U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Violent Crime Task Force announce partnership

DULUTH, MN–  A big step forward tonight in the Northland’s growing fight against opioids. The federal Drug Enforcement Administration has announced it will expand its services to Duluth.

“It’s a holistic illness that requires a holistic response,” said Duluth Mayor Emily Larson.

Another big move to address the Northland’s opioid epidemic Wednesday.

“It’s my pleasure this morning to announce the establishment of a new DEA Duluth Post of Duty which would expand DEA’s presence into northeastern Minnesota,” said Richard Salter, DEA Special Agent In Charge.

The move will allow two new DEA agents to work alongside two agents from the Lake Superior Drug and Violent Crime Task Force.

The collaboration will allow for more man-power and resources to dismantle criminal drug trafficking.

“We will expand regional drug cases, identify and prosecute their domestic co-conspirators throughout the country, and ultimately reach their sources of supply in China, Mexico, and Columbia,” said Salter.

Officials hope this partnership will continue to make our community a safer place.

“It’s not just the people who are in public safety, it’s every one of us. And those people who are suffering from addiction, it takes all of us to prop our community up and to get people well again,” said Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken.

This announcement comes on the heels of National Recovery Month, an effort dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding of mental and substance use disorders, and celebrating the people who recover.

“The addiction is destroying lives, it is disrupting families, it drives up crime, and it tears apart our community,” said Larson

Officials hope this move will offer new hope for this community and the region.

“Our shared mission is to create a safer community for all Minnesota residents and we are thrilled to stand here with our Duluth partners to help that start today, here. Thank you,” said Anders Folk, First Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota.

They still need to hire agents before the post can start operating. So, no word yet on when they plan to be operational by.

You can watch the full news conference below.


DULUTH, MN — Authorities say they are creating a partnership to help fight the opioid epidemic in northeastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced they will be opening a Duluth, Minnesota Post of Duty and partnership with the Lake Superior Drug and Violent Crime Task Force.

The Duluth location will be the 11th DEA office in the five states the Omaha Division covers, including Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and counties in western Illinois and western Wisconsin.

The new department will allow two DEA agents and additional federally deputized task force officers to work with the Lake Superior Drug and Violent Crime Task Force, and authorities say the partnership will help get rid of criminal drug trafficking organizations.

CeCe Gaines

Multimedia Journalist

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