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Police halt northbound traffic on the Blatnik Bridge on Thursday as they look for any loose bills that allegedly were tossed from a vehicle by suspect who was fleeing police.  (Bob King / rking@duluthnews.com)
Police halt northbound traffic on the Blatnik Bridge on Thursday as they look for any loose bills that allegedly were tossed from a vehicle by suspect who was fleeing police. (Bob King / rking@duluthnews.com)

Police: Suspected drug dealer threw money from vehicle on Blatnik Bridge

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news Duluth, 55802
Duluth Minnesota 424 W. First St. 55802

A 23-year-old man accused of selling “substantial quantities” of heroin in the Twin Ports area was arrested Thursday after he allegedly eluded police officers and threw money out his vehicle’s window while driving across the Blatnik Bridge toward Duluth.

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Authorities said the suspect was in possession of 20 grams of heroin when police tracked him down near Midway Road in Duluth. He was taken to the St. Louis County Jail and faces charges of selling drugs and fleeing in a motor vehicle.

According to the Duluth Police Department:

Law enforcement officers identified the suspect sitting in his vehicle at about 10 a.m. Thursday near Hammond Avenue in Superior. Officers had probable cause to arrest the man for heroin sales and had a warrant to search him and his vehicle.

As officers approached the suspect, he took off in an attempt to avoid arrest, officials said, speeding around marked and unmarked squads, across a lawn and onto Hammond Avenue.

The suspect headed for the Blatnik Bridge, and at its base on the Superior side he allegedly threw an unspecified amount of paper money from the window.

Officers followed the suspect across the bridge to Duluth, eventually losing sight of him on Interstate 535 at the southbound exit to I-35.

A short time later, the Proctor Police Department located the vehicle near I-35 and Midway Road. The Minnesota State Patrol and Border Patrol assisted police in stopping the suspect’s vehicle.

Officers found further evidence of drug sales during their subsequent search.

The suspect, who resides in the Duluth and Chicago areas, has an extensive criminal record and had been out on bail for first degree possession of heroin. He has prior convictions for aggravated robbery and the possession and sale of drugs. His charges will be processed through Douglas County.

Officers and investigators from the Duluth and Superior police departments, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and the Lake Superior Drug and Violent Crime Task Force were present during the initial arrest attempt.

Authorities closed the northbound lanes of the bridge for a while immediately following the incident, and law enforcement officers could be seen searching the traffic lanes. They said most of the money has been recovered.

The closure caused traffic backups in Superior, made worse by the fact that Duluth-bound lanes on the Bong Bridge are closed this summer as part of a long-term reconstruction project.

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