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Largest ever fentanyl seizure in Clay County result of joint investigation

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Moorhead Police Department
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Suspected fentanyl pills

1,091 suspected fentanyl pills and 20 grams of methamphetamine were seized.

Law enforcement seized over $37,000 in illegal drugs overnight in Clay County, Minnesota, in what’s being called the county’s largest ever seizure of fentanyl.

Moorhead Police Chief Shannon Monroe says the bust was the work of his department, along with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, Minnesota State Patrol, Cass County Drug Task Force and the Fargo office of the Drug Enforcement Administration. He says their investigation showed the suspects were traveling from Minneapolis with the drugs.

52 year old Larry McClendon, 36 year old Raphael Murphy and 32 year old Cameron Desjarlais were arrested during two traffic stops on I-94 near Barnesville. Chief Monroe says each face numerous drug related charges. Over a thousand pills containing fentanyl and 20 grams of methamphetamine were seized. Monroe says fentanyl overdoses in the area have been increasing significantly in recent years.

"In 2019, just the Moorhead Police Department responded to five overdoses and two deaths. Last year we responded to 63 overdoses, and eight deaths. So far, through not even quite four months this year, we have responded to twelve overdoses and two deaths. And I stated 'known' overdoses, as many of them go unreported due to the police not being called in some of these cases, and people being treated by bystanders. So it's not a complete picture of just how significant the drug problem is in our community."

The suspects were booked into the Clay County Correctional Facility. During the investigation, ammunition was also discovered, and one of the cars was found to be stolen.

Clay County Sheriff Mark Empting says law enforcement agencies are working together to try and stop these substances from coming into their communities.

"Let it be known to whoever is doing this type of business in our county; we will do whatever we can to ensure that you will not be in business for that long. We do not want this in our county, this is a dangerous drug, this is taking the lives of people. And we definitely do not want it here."

The bust was the third seizure on I-94 in the last two months.