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2 men arrested in connection with June Rochester drive-by shooting

Police also allegedly found fentanyl and methamphetamine in the men's residence.

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ROCHESTER — Law enforcement arrested two men Thursday, July 8, 2022, they believe are connected to a drive-by shooting last month in Rochester, according to Rochester Police Capt. Casey Moilanen.

According to Moilanen, law enforcement conducted search warrants on the 1900 block of Spruce Meadows Drive Southeast and the 400 block of 31st Street Northwest where police found multiple firearms and drugs.

A 30-year-old man and a 37-year-old man, both of Rochester, were arrested during the search warrants.

Charges have not been filed in Olmsted County District court for either man. Moilanen said they are referring charges related to assault and reckless firearm use. As of Friday morning, both men are listed as in custody in the Olmsted County Adult Detention Center.

These arrests follow a press conference by Rochester Police Chief James Franklin Thursday who said the department has formed a new task force to combat recent shootings and other violent crimes in Rochester.

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“These are priority cases for us and we rapidly reallocate and deploy resources necessary to resolve and respond to the problems,” Franklin said during the press conference. “... (The task force) initiates and coordinates response in identifying suspects and then purposely goes and tracks them down. Ultimately, with the goal of interrupting that cycle of violence in this community. This unified response has worked very well in spite of all the staffing challenges that we have been experiencing in the last couple of years.”

Police found a total of three 9 mm handguns and one .45 caliber handgun during the Thursday search warrants, according to Moilanen, who is also part of the violent crimes task force. He added that the casings found at the scene of the June 3 shooting on the 1000 block of West Center Street Northwest were 9 mm.

A 48-year-old female was also arrested during the search warrants Thursday. Moilanen said the department has referred multiple drug charges for the woman.

Police found 19 grams of fentanyl and 4 grams of methamphetamine, during the searches, Moilanen said.

Olmsted County is one of four counties in Minnesota considered a high-intensity drug traffic area (HIDTA), which is designated by the federal program HIDTA within the Drug Enforcement Agency.

“The (Olmsted County) Sheriff’s Office and Chief Franklin both realized that we needed some help with combating narcotics-related crimes, and so we applied to be a part of HIDTA,” Moilanen said during the press conference. “We had to show that we had a large number of drugs in the county as well as kind of a corridor for drugs, whereas drugs travel through the city and county, and we were easily able to show that.”

Mark Wasson has been a public safety reporter with Post Bulletin since May 2022. Previously, he worked as a general assignment reporter in the southwest metro and as a public safety reporter in Willmar, Minn. Readers can reach Mark at mwasson@postbulletin.com.
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