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Meth is still a problem – and here’s what we’re doing about it

March 8, 2018

Photo of meth seized in 2017.
Photo: Here are just a few ounces of the record 624.5 pounds of meth seized by violent crime enforcement teams in 2017.



A few years ago, when someone would say “illicit drug,” the first word to pop into your mind was probably “meth.” But lately, we’ve been hearing so much about record amounts of marijuana being seized on Minnesota’s roads and the alarming number of deaths from opioids and heroin that methamphetamines seem to have taken a backseat.

Enter Minnesota’s violent crime enforcement teams (VCETs). VCETs are multijurisdictional task forces that investigate narcotics, gangs and violent crime, and they’re partially funded by the Office of Justice Programs. And the VCETs haven’t forgotten about meth.

The proof is in their record number of meth seizures in 2017. VCET officials seized an astounding 624.5 pounds of meth last year – that’s a 28 percent increase over 2016’s meth seizures (487.71 pounds) and a 171 percent increase over 2015’s (230.32). In fact, VCET has been seizing record amounts of meth for eight years straight.

So where is all this meth coming from? The good news is that through enhanced laws, enforcement and education, the manufacture and distribution in Minnesota has been significantly reduced. The bad news is, that means it’s coming from outside. The majority of meth that shows up in this region comes from Mexico. It comes straight up I-35 and passes through Minnesota. Some of the meth stays here, and some of it continues to bordering states.

Unless VCETs or other law enforcement gets to it first, that is. And that’s why a record number of meth seizures in 2017 is better than it might sound at first: 624.5 pounds of meth taken by law enforcement is 624.5 pounds of meth that’s no longer on the streets of Minnesota.