Duluth's "Operation Crackdown": 30 arrested in connection with cocaine-for-EBT card scheme

Categories: Crime, Drugs, Duluth
duluth operation crackdown rect.jpeg
Image by Tatiana Craine -- Flickr photos from chefranden, stevendepolo, and marc falardeau
EBT cards were apparently the currency of choice for a Twin Ports crack cocaine ring.
Looking to score a rock in the Twin Ports? Until the cops got involved, it sounds like getting your hands on an EBT card would've helped the cause.

SEE ALSO: Jeff Dubay says he started using crack after his brother slept with his wife

Duluth police announced today they've arrested 30 people and are hunting for several more in connection with a crack cocaine ring. Those involved with the drug ring were in the habit of exchanging crack for EBT cards, law enforcement officials say.

Fittingly, the Duluth PD's nine-month investigation of the ring was called "Operation Crackdown." In connection with the investigation, police searched seven Twin Ports properties -- six in Duluth and one in Superior. Arrests were made in both cities.

Information about the crack-for-EBT scheme comes via the Duluth News Tribune:
During the investigation, task force investigators identified a trend in the narcotics trafficking -- trading so-called food stamp or EBT/SNAP cards in exchange for crack cocaine.

"These trades were made at rates equal to approximately 50 percent of the face value of the card. Crack cocaine with a street value of approximately $100 was purchased with cards holding benefits equal to $200,'' police said in this morning's release.

Several of the suspects in this case face charges related to trafficking crack cocaine and wrongfully obtaining public assistance.

"The fact that this case involved food stamp benefits being traded for narcotics makes it all the more egregious,'' the release notes.
WDIO reports that "Many of those arrested have significant criminal histories, including one with a homicide conviction who was allegedly found in a Central Hillside residence where two handguns were concealed in ceiling tiles."

For the names and mugshots of all 30 arrested thus far as part of "Operation Crackdown," click to page two.

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