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Civilians Help Tackle War on Drugs

June 13, 2018 08:56 PM

(ABC 6 News)-- Criminal informants are a necessary tool in the war on drugs, but so are law abiding citizens.

Once a month, the "Cannon Falls Area Triad" meets with authorities at the Cannon Valley Senior Center. 

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“We can be the eyes and ears of the community if we have a relationship with law enforcement,” said Rosie Schluter, a Triad Volunteer.

Wednesday morning, members of the “South East Minnesota Violent Crimes Enforcement Team" (SEMVCET) paid the group a visit. Their focus was narcotics.

Cameras were not allowed at the meeting as some of the officers are undercover, but the buzz word going around the room was opioids.  

“The number of cases that we see are increasing,” said Deputy Paul Gielau, a Patrol Commander with the Goodhue County Sheriff’s Office. “Fentanyl is an extremely dangerous drug and we are seeing more and more fentanyl. Fentanyl is getting put into heroin.”

However, Deputy Gielau says most of the drug cases they are seeing are not fentanyl-related. “By far, methamphetamine use and the drug case arrests we make are methamphetamine-related,” he said. 

Altogether, 14 counties are included in the drug task force, including Olmsted, Mower, and Freeborn. 

“We do find that a person will be in our area [Goodhue County] for a while and the heat might come on a bit,” said Deputy Gielau. “They will just pick up and they will go to Kasson, they will go to St. Charles. They just move around quite a bit.”

Making things more difficult is evolving technology. With mobile banking, Deputy Gielau says money and drugs don't always change hands anymore. “‘You send money to here, I’ll get the money and then I will send you the drugs’,” he said. “A lot of drugs are getting mailed through the post office, through UPS.”

Which is why it's important for civilians to keep an eye out. 

“Not just out of curiosity, but out of compassion and a desire to help,” said Schluter. “We can recognize something and ask law enforcement is this something you should be aware of.”

“With everyone working together, it does make a difference,” said Deputy Gielau.

DRUG TIPLINE: 888 345-0131

E-mail: drugs@co.olmsted.mn.us

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Hannah Tiede

Copyright 2018 - KAAL-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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