The meth epidemic in this part of the country hasn't loosened its grip on Carlton County and Cloquet, according to Cloquet Police Detective Jeff Palmer. Palmer and fellow detective Darren Berg, along with the rest of the Cloquet Police Department...
The meth epidemic in this part of the country hasn't loosened its grip on Carlton County and Cloquet, according to Cloquet Police Detective Jeff Palmer. Palmer and fellow detective Darren Berg, along with the rest of the Cloquet Police Department, Minnesota State Patrol, Carlton County Sheriff's Department, Fond du Lac Police Department and Esko/Thomson Police Department have been keeping busy keeping the "junk" off the street. And while their progress hasn't been widely publicized - it's certainly been happening.
Over the past six months - with over a pound of meth seized within the last month - the Cloquet Police Department has seized several pounds of meth and cocaine from dealers and users. Most of the busts are from traffic stops, sting operations and tips from informants. Even though Cloquet and the other law enforcement agencies have seen recent success in meth seizures, the epidemic is far from under control - and getting worse.
"We've always said, our work with meth is like mowing the grass - we can cut it down, but it always comes back," said Palmer. "It's frustrating, but we're [CPD detectives] given a lot of room to work with from [Police Chief] Wade [Lamirande] and [Deputy Chief] Terry [Hill]. They let us do our jobs and make trips out of town for our drug work, and because of that, we're much more successful in put some kind of stop to this."
"When meth first started to get 'big' in this area, Palmer and I were dealing with smaller amounts of meth - grams and maybe a couple ounces worth," said Berg. "Now, it's not surprising to see much larger quantities than that. The meth situation is certainly going to get much worse before it gets better."
Many drug busts are not widely publicized for several reasons, according to Palmer. The main reason is because a drug case, especially with meth, is never "cut and dry" like a murder or burglary. If a dealer or anyone associated with the distribution or creation of meth is arrested in Cloquet, the next step isn't to simply ship them to jail. Because meth is mainly created in Mexico and other parts of South America and ends up in Carlton County the distribution spans several states - now making it a federal crime - and also involves weapons charges, leading to an even lengthier investigation. When a meth dealer or those associated with meth distribution and use are busted in Cloquet, that doesn't mean it ends here.
Also, unlike a murder or a theft, issue surrounding meth deals and use usually directly involve several criminals, not just one or two, making the investigation even more complicated. Often times meth criminals are utilized by the law enforcement to proved further information on future drug deals.
"Informants are a huge help to us," said Berg. "That's where we get a lot of our information from regarding deals."
Berg also credits their "drug dog" Tessa and her handler, Cloquet Police K-9 Officer Scott Holman with finding the "unfindable" drugs during traffic stops.
"We have one the best drug dog in this area," said Berg.
Palmer just wants the public to be aware of the extended efforts of the Cloquet Police and other nearby law enforcement agencies on the keeping meth at bay.
"We simply want the public to know we're hard at work keeping meth off the streets," said Palmer. "And it's not a simple process. We've had 24-hour stakeouts. We've had to drive to the Twin Cities two, even three times a week to follow up with contacts. But we're doing everything we can to keep ahead of the game."
Pine Journal Editor Mat Gilderman can be contacted at: email@example.com .