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Drug bust takes thousands of narcotic pills off local streets

Cook County Sheriff's Office squad car
Cook County Sheriff's Office squad car

A Thunder Bay man was arrested March 2 in Grand Portage near the international line with more than 3,000 narcotic pills.

John Edward Heinonen, 60, of Thunder Bay, Ontario, was arrested by the Cook County Sheriff’s Office with assistance from the United States Border Patrol and charged with first-degree drug possession. The arrest was made after Heinonen picked up a package in Grand Portage that contained approximately 3,040 non-prescribed, narcotic pills.

The arrest was a result of an operation between the Cook County Drug Task Force, which includes the Sheriff’s Office, US Border Patrol, Minnesota State Patrol and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officers, in cooperation with Homeland Security Investigations.

“I commend the efforts of our Cook County Sheriff’s Department investigator and the Cook County Drug Task Force,” said Cook County Sheriff Pat Eliasen. “This is a significant interception and we are pleased to take these pills of the streets.”

Heinonen has now been released after posting $100,000 bail. The Cook County Sheriff’s Office is also working with law enforcement partners in Canada on this case.