Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com)--- There has a string of arrests taking drug dealers off the streets over the past few months.
The most recent bust was made four days ago when the Lake Superior Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force arrested 38-year-old Antonio Long...a well-known Duluth heroin dealer.
When taken into custody police say Long was in possession of more than ounce of heroin and cocaine, plus he had a loaded .45 caliber handgun that police say was stolen from a gun show in Moose Lake last year.
Long has been charged with sale of heroin and crack cocaine plus being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Long's bust follows a multi-agency drug investigation, spearheaded by the Lake Superior Drug and Violent Crime Task Force, dubbed "Operation Exile".
The investigation resulted in charges against 41 people throughout St Louis County.
The Task Force has arrested 29 of those people, and have outstanding warrants for the other 12.
Authorities say this has been a good round-up but the battle with the heroin epidemic is far from over.
Authorities say heroin offenders and dealers are the biggest drug threat in the Northland at this time and the user base is growing every day.
The dealers generally have significant criminal histories, making the busts a lot more dangerous for law enforcement.
"With heroin dealers we're finding more and more firearms present during our search warrants or at least on the persons of the folks we're arresting, so we're seeing a much more violent offender a lot of the times with gang ties back to some of the midwest cities in our area."
65 people were busted statewide in "operation exile"...with the majority taken into custody in the Twin Ports.
Authorities ask people to pay attention to their neighbors or strangers in their neighborhoods.
They also encourage neighbors to watch for vehicles associated with people that may be distributing drugs be vigilant watching for needles and waste such as aluminum foil.
Written and posted to the web by Raeanna Marnati