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Charges: Duluth man arrested with 300 grams of fentanyl outside treatment center

Matthew Erickson, 34, was already on probation after pleading guilty to selling the same drug in 2020.

A courtroom gavel

DULUTH β€” A man on probation for felony drug sales was arrested last week outside a Duluth treatment facility while in possession of more than 300 grams of suspected heroin and fentanyl, authorities said.

Matthew James Erickson, 34, of Duluth, was described by police as a "prolific drug dealer." He was arraigned Monday in State District Court on two counts of first-degree sale of a controlled substance.

Matthew James Erickson.jpg
Matthew James Erickson

Erickson was arrested April 13 in the parking lot of the Center for Alcohol and Drug Treatment, 1402 E. Superior St., after members of the Lake Superior Violent Offender Task Force obtained a search warrant for his person, vehicle and apartment.

A criminal complaint states that officers saw him place a backpack in his Jeep Liberty and drive from his residence at Midtowne Manor, 2021 W. Second St., to the treatment facility.

Upon Erickson's arrest, he allegedly was found with a bag in his pants pocket containing 37.9 grams of a substance that field-tested positive for fentanyl, along with 10 pills marked "M30," which police said are commonly counterfeit OxyContin pills containing fentanyl.

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Police found more than 90 grams of the drug during a search.

In the Jeep, officers said they found another bag containing 213 grams of fentanyl, along with a digital scale and other drug paraphernalia, including a seizure medication that is often laced with fentanyl or heroin.

In the backpack were two additional bags containing 54.9 grams of suspected fentanyl and another weighing 13.8 grams that field-tested positive for heroin, the complaint states.

The substances were all collected and sent to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for laboratory testing.

Erickson remains on probation until August 2024 after pleading guilty to first-degree sale of fentanyl and fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle in a 2020 incident. Court records show that a plea agreement with the St. Louis County Attorney's Office resulted in Judge Jill Eichenwald staying the guideline 65-month prison term in favor of three years of supervised probation.

Erickson faces approximately eight years in prison if convicted of the new offenses, St. Louis County prosecutor Nichole Carter said. He is being held at the St. Louis County Jail without bail due to the alleged probation violation, which he denied.

"It is especially concerning that the defendant possessed these substances while he was at a substance use treatment facility," Carter told a judge this week.

Erickson's next court appearance was set for May 9.

Tom Olsen has covered crime and courts for the Duluth News Tribune since 2013. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth and a lifelong resident of the city. Readers can contact Olsen at 218-723-5333 or tolsen@duluthnews.com.
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