Hennepin County prosecutors filed charges against 20 people on Friday for operating a methamphetamine ring that authorities say targeted the Hmong community.
The charges come after an eight-month investigation by the FBI, St. Paul Police and Minneapolis Police. Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said the investigation relied on wiretaps.
"The taps went on several of the leading figures that were also charged today," Freeman said. "The wiretap was critical because we had a very difficult time getting inside these organizations, as they're selling a lot of drugs."
The alleged meth operation was headquartered in Brooklyn Center and Brooklyn Park, but many of the drug sales occurred in St. Paul, Freeman said.
"This was the first, from the police's experience, from really targeted sales in the Hmong community of methamphetamine," Freeman said. "I think particularly the St. Paul police were very pleased that we were able to take down this particular meth-selling ring."
Most of those being charged are in jail. The drug distribution charges carry a maximum penalty of 30 years. Four people are also charged with illegally possessing handguns.