Feds looking into drug pipeline from Detroit to North Dakota

State News

FILE – This undated file photo provided by the U.S. Attorneys Office for Utah and introduced as evidence at a trial shows fentanyl-laced fake oxycodone pills collected during an investigation. Accidental overdoses contribute to 90 percent of all U.S. opioid-related deaths. Rising use of illicitly manufactured and highly potent synthetic opioids including fentanyl has likely contributed to the unintentional death rate, which surged nine-fold between 2000 and 2017, the study found. (U.S. Attorneys Office for Utah via AP, File)

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Federal authorities say they are investigating a drug pipeline that involves moving the powerful opioid fentanyl and other painkillers from the Detroit area to three Native American reservations in North Dakota.

U.S. Attorney Drew Wrigley says the operation involves “tens of millions of dollars” of narcotics and thus far has targeted 22 defendants from Michigan and eight from North Dakota.

The group began dealing oxycontin pills in the state about five years ago and switched to fentanyl during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wrigley says organizers used “violence, threats, firearms and other means” to recruit people, including many on the Spirit Lake, Turtle Mountain and Fort Berthold reservations who joined to feed their own drug addictions.

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