Commentary by Kim
I have received a few emails regarding this blog and I am encouraged to keep sharing stories, poems, news and commentary.
I received word yesterday that "ALLEDGEDLY" the Mexican Mafia is recruiting up in Northern Minnesota. They are driving around with their lights off and if someone flashes their lights at them, the person being initiated is ordered to kill that person as their initiation into this "elite club".
I do not know if this is true. As it came to me, I am believing it to be rumor.
I also heard from the same party that their was a BIG meth bust made in Duluth. Please see the story below in it's entirety. Please note the Spanish names from California. Is it me or is this "Mexican Mafia" connection real? I have heard of this connection throughout the United States ever since I heard of my son's kidnapping... Something to ponder.
Officials make Northland's largest meth seizure, arresting 9 suspects
BY JOHN MYERS AND CHRIS HAMILTON
DULUTH NEWS TRIBUNE STAFF WRITERS
Tuesday, November 8, 2005
By using a man who was picked up last week for alleged drug dealing, Duluth police were able to arrange Friday's delivery of a 3-pound shipment of methamphetamine by two Mexican nationals to a motel parking lot near Interstate 35.
The dealer-turned-informant's source for meth was a California man whom he knew as Sergio Ochoa. Ochoa had seen to it that at least 50 pounds of meth found its way into Duluth since July, according to charges filed Monday afternoon in St. Louis County District Court.
When police recovered the shipment -- believed to be the largest ever seized in the region -- it was wrapped in motor oil-soaked rags, electrical tape and Ziploc bags and hidden in a secret compartment in a car-door panel to thwart drug-sniffing dogs.
Nine people eventually were arrested Friday by local, state and federal law officers. On two days' notice, authorities had designed several elaborate stings in which Twin Ports police tailed cars and employed surveillance cameras and wireless recording devices, according to court documents.
The bust, dubbed "Operation Taconite," is credited with derailing a meth import operation that pumped about $1 million of the drug into the Northland every month. Officials from the Lake Superior Drug Task Force announced the arrests Monday at Duluth City Hall.
"They don't get any bigger for us," said Duluth Police Chief Roger Waller, adding that the arrests "made a huge dent" in the local availability of meth.
The arrests of additional suspects are possible, including that of "Sergio."
"It isn't done yet, but we've netted at least nine of the major players," Waller said.
Police believe the meth was cooked in large-scale labs in Mexico and California, brought to the Northland by gang members and distributed by local dealers, some with extensive criminal records, he said.
Aside from the motel bust, the task force on Friday nabbed a 24-year-old Duluth man, Andrew Harlan Salus, with 8 ounces of meth, which is believed to have come from the same California source, said Lt. Patricia Behning of the Duluth Police Department. The meth's price was $10,000.
"They are very businesslike and very organized," Behning said of the cross-country distribution system. "It confirmed many of our suspicions, and we gained a lot of knowledge through this."
Police also executed four search warrants and took possession of more than $40,000 in cash and eight vehicles. Authorities were reluctant to share other details in order to protect witnesses and informants, Behning said.
Duluth's tactical response team provided added protection during the arrests, but none of the suspects resisted, Waller said.
All nine defendants appeared Monday afternoon before Sixth Judicial District Judicial Officer Gerald Maher in Duluth on charges of first-degree possession with intent to sell meth:
• Jeffery Donald Doig, 26, Virginia.
• Noel Cipriano Felix, 19, North Shore, Calif.
• Saloman Felix, 26, Shafer, Calif.
• Lee Ronald Nesgoda, 24, Duluth.
• Francis Taylor O'Brien, 26, Duluth.
• Andrew Harland Salus, 24, Duluth.
• Zachary Robert Scufsa, 20, Ely.
• Steven Wesley Slama, 27, Duluth.
• Joseph Alan Rogers, 25, Duluth.
The suspects, all arrested Friday, may also be charged in U.S. District Court with federal drug trafficking crimes, police said. Maher set bail for each man between $100,000 and $500,000.
Prosecutor Mark Rubin called the men major local drug dealers and serious threats to public safety. "We don't see these amounts too much in the Duluth area," he said.
Rubin also said despite the money involved in the operation, most of the suspects have few assets and probably were fronted the drugs or cash by other people.
Nearly all of men qualified for public defenders. However, Nesgoda indicated to Maher that he would have no problem coming up with the 10 percent needed to make his $150,000 bail through a bondsman.
"So what's that, 15 G's ($15,000)," Nesgoda said. "That's it, huh? Cool."
None of the suspects entered pleas at Monday's hearings. Slama and Rogers each said he was either buying for personal use or an unsuspecting driver.
"Mr. Slama's not a criminal, your honor," said defense attorney Richard Holmstrom.
Elements of the Lake Superior Drug Task Force involved in the operation include Duluth, Superior, Proctor, Cloquet and Hermantown police forces; the Minnesota Gang Strike Force; U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; St. Louis County Sheriff's Department; and the Minnesota State Patrol.
"The (officers) who did this should be commended. They took a risk to help get this drug off the streets," said Dan Perich, Hermantown police chief.
Drug arrests for methamphetamine or meth, which is a highly addictive and dangerous form of speed, have grown exponentially over the past few years in St. Louis County -- and across Minnesota. It's known for being relatively cheap, and several people can get high for hours on just a gram of meth.
Meth also is made in small batches using over-the-counter medications along with corrosive household and farm products.
"The idea of the backyard cook shop is more the exception these days," Waller said about meth.