Rochester drug bust leads to seizure of 36,000 pills laced with fentanyl

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(ABC 6 News) – A major drug bust led to the seizure of thousands of pills laced with fentanyl, the Rochester Police Department (RPD) said on Friday.

According to RPD, earlier this year it began an investigation into the trafficking of M30 pills, counterfeit Oxycodone pills laced with suspected fentanyl. During the investigation, information was collected regarding transportation of a large quantity of these pills to Rochester from Phoenix, Arizona.

On July 15, RPD’s Criminal Interdiction Unit, with assistance from the Minnesota State Patrol, Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office, and the South Central and Southeast Minnesota Violent Crimes Enforcement Teams, conducted a traffic stop as part of a search warrant on I-35 north of I-90. The traffic stop yielded a fake identification card, a loaded firearm, 80 rounds of ammunition, cocaine, marijuana, and counterfeit Oxycodone pills testing positive for fentanyl.

On July 18, additional search warrants were served on vehicles and residences in northwest and southeast Rochester where additional narcotics were discovered. In one residence, located in the 2800 block of Riverwood Ln NW, officials seized 7.18 pounds (approximately 36,000) counterfeit M30 Oxycodone pills testing positive for fentanyl. RPD said each pill had the potential to cause a deadly overdose.

Later that day, John Michael Ask, 44, from Rochester, was arrested and charged with 1st-degree possession and 1st-degree sale of narcotics related to the investigation. Ask is being held at the Olmsted County Adult Detention Center.

Rochester Police Chief Jim Franklin shares, “Fentanyl continues to be a growing problem in Rochester, and the quantity seized this week could have had a devastating impact on our community. The proactive and collaborative efforts of those involved in this case are commendable.”

The investigation remains ongoing and additional arrests are anticipated, according to RPD.