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Statewide drug bust nets 161 people

Minnesota Gang and Drug Task Force officers and Bureau of Criminal Appreciation agents participated in a drug enforcement effort throughout the state from April 23 through 29, resulting in 161 arrests on drug related charges.

The operation -- Operation Byrne Drugs II -- was a coordinated effort led by the National Alliance of State Drug Enforcement Agencies to focus on drug-related crimes and the importance of federally funded Byrne Justice Assistance Grant program in the day-to-day operations of drug enforcement.

During this week-long operation officers seized 487.4 grams of cocaine, 224 grams of crack cocaine, 724.8 grams of methamphetamine, 204 pound of marijuana and a variety of other drugs.

Also seized were 18 firearms and more than $45,000 in cash.

In addition, seven children were present during the arrests and those cases were turned over to child protection agencies.

"While this was a single national initiative involving 36 states, Minnesota drug enforcement officers are out every day working hard to keep drugs out of our communities," says Bob Bushman, statewide gang and drug coordinator. "Adequate funding helps us provide the resources local law enforcement agencies need to fight drug-related crimes."

Participating agencies included Anoka-Hennepin, CEE-VI (Kandiyohi County), Central Minnesota, Dakota County, East Metro, Hennepin/Minneapolis, Metro, Minnesota River Valley, North Central, North Shore, Red River Valley, South East Minnesota, Southwest Metro and West Central drug task forces (which includes Becker County) and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

The Byrne Justice Assistance Grant program was named after Edward Byrne, a New York narcotics officer killed in the line of duty in 1988.

One of the most important uses of the Byrne grant program is funding multi-jurisdictional drug task forces, which help law enforcement reduce drug-related violent crime, gangs and organized crime.

In addition, the grant funds programs that assist in the prevention of drug use and improving the effectiveness of prosecution, courts and corrections practices.