Authorities: More than 30 suspects to face state, federal charge - KBJR 6 Your Weather Authority: News, Weather & Sports

Authorities: More than 30 suspects to face state, federal charges following heroin drug bust

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UPDATE: Authorities say 12 suspects will face federal drug trafficking charges, and 17 more will face state charges after allegedly trafficking heroin through Duluth.

The U.S. District Attorney says several more suspects are expected to be arrested, with a total of at least 32 people allegedly involved in the drug ring.

12 suspects have been indicted on 46 federal counts, including conspiracy to distribute heroin, and several are also facing charges of distribution of heroin and possession.

17 more were arrested on state charges, 16 of which face charges of first degree sale, and aiding and abetting a conspiracy. 

The bust will take nearly one million dollars of heroin off the streets.

According to an indictment, the following persons conspired together to distribute heroin throughout the Twin Ports area:

  • Carlos Coleman, 33
  • Bernard Mims, 38
  • Crystal Starstead, 35
  • Cazembe Franklin, 44
  • Kenneth Quade, 24
  • Daniel Amatuzio Jr. 29
  • Benjamin Woodbury, 27
  • Damien Burnett, 33
  • Lavina Shannon, 40
  • Joseph Williams, 28
  • Chevella Koralo, 23
  • Erin Alhachem, 27

Police say Coleman, who is from Apple Valley, Minnesota,  has been identified as the main distributor, and allegedly brought heroin to the Twin Ports area from Chicago.

These co-conspirators ultimately distributed to twelve major exchange points in Twin Ports and the Iron Range, and police say these high level providers have run that transport route for years. 

Saint Louis County Attorney Mark Rubin says he's never seen a bust this big in his 40 years of being a prosecutor. 

"I'm approaching 40 years in prosecution. I've never seen this level of cooperation- we came close to this on the Last Place on Earth and Lt. Kazel was responsible for so much of that too.  I look back on that and earlier days we had this type of cooperation, sometimes on major cocaine cases, but this is phenomenal," said Rubin.

Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken has a stern warning for future drug traffickers in the region. 

"If you're pedalling poisons to our people, we are watching you, and we will hold you accountable for your actions," said Tusken.  

The U.S. District Attorney says multiple departments were involved with the case, including the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, as well as multiple police departments in the Twin Ports and Iron Range areas. 

Authorities will be announcing drug trafficking charges on Thursday morning.

In a release, federal and state charges will be filed against multiple defendants in the Duluth area. 

U.S. Attorney Gregory Brooker, St. Louis County Attorney Mark Rubin, Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken are expected to make the announcement at 11 a.m. 

ATF Special Agent Kurt Thielhorn and DEA Assistant Special Agent Ken Solek will also be in attendance. 

KBJR 6 will have the latest at noon, 5, 6 and 10

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