Major bust 'puts dent' in local drug trade

MILWAUKEE - More than 250 local, state, and federal law enforcement officers put a dent in the distribution of drugs to our area. They carried out major a major drug bust this morning, spanning three different states. 

More than 21 assault weapons, drugs, and cash were confiscated, and 19 people were arrested. They range in age from 24 to 68. Investigators say these suspects are not your street-level drug dealers. They are organized, large-scale drug traffickers of heroin, cocaine and fentanyl.

“We know that this group of people and the drugs they were trafficking are linked to dozens of overdose deaths,” said Wisconsin Attorney General, Brad Schimel. 

Schimel says some of the suspects have been in the drug trade for more than 15 years, and now face life in prison.

U.S. Attorney Gregory Haanstad, who represents the Eastern District of Wisconsin, says the main source of the drug ring was based in Illinois, but spread to Wisconsin and Iowa. At least 14 properties in Milwaukee are part of the investigation.

“Ordinarily a large number of these suspects cooperate and provide further info about their drug trafficking activities, that might lead to further arrests, interviews, surveillance, and search warrants,” Haanstad said. 

“It’s another step in our efforts to slow down the flow of these drugs onto our streets,” Schimel said. “The more of these operations we take down, the more of a risk we make it for these criminals to do business in our communities, and the safer our community will be.”

They say this is just the first step. Now, investigators will go through months of wiretapped conversations for more clues, and check whether any of the guns they confiscated are linked to other crimes. 

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