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Drug bust biggest ever in Duluth

Otis Jason Weaver (left) and Eric Antione Black, arrested in connection with seizure of approximately 4.3 pounds of heroin, a half-pound of cocaine, a loaded firearm and $94,623 in U.S. currency.1 / 3
Some of the heroin seized in a recent drug bust in Duluth. Photo courtesy of Duluth Police Department2 / 3
The Glock handgun and ammo seized during a recent drug bust in Duluth. Photo courtesy of Duluth Police Department3 / 3

DULUTH — Two men were arrested Thursday, May 28, following the largest drug bust ever made in Duluth.

Investigators seized about 4.3 pounds of heroin with an estimated street value of $350,000, as well as a half-pound of cocaine, a loaded gun and more than $94,600 in cash.

The heroin amounts to more than 22,000 doses.

Lake Superior Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force officers arrested Otis Jason Weaver, 39, and Eric Antione Black, 36, on Thursday after executing search warrants at an apartment and a hotel room.

At the time of his arrest, Black was out on bail, awaiting trial on a first-degree murder charge in Chicago.

“Because of their expert investigations and relentless work, the (task force) is removing the poisons from our streets that are peddled to our citizens. We’re spending a tremendous amount of effort in going after those who sell these poisons to remove the supply from our community,” Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken said in a written statement.

At a press conference Monday, he made clear that going after the drug supply is only one part of the solution to the “scourge” of opioid addiction.

“This is not a problem we can arrest our way out of,” he said. “We certainly are taking a three-pronged approach of doing education, prevention and enforcement.”

Jeff Kazel, commander of the task force, said the seizure would “greatly affect those who are suffering from addiction” and urged those who need help to call the city’s opioid hotline at 218-730-4009.

The arrests on Thursday followed a two-month investigation that involved a number of “controlled buys” from Black and Weaver, according to charges. When investigators searched Weaver at a downtown Duluth hotel, they reported finding more than $2,000 in cash and more than 14 grams of heroin in his pocket.

Black, whom charging documents identify as Weaver’s supplier, was at Weaver’s residence when it was searched. There investigators say they found a duffel bag full of heroin next to a .40-caliber Glock handgun with hollow-point ammunition and more than $92,000 in cash.

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