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25 arrested in crackdown on violent crime in Rochester and Twin Cities

The joint law enforcement operation in Rochester seized drugs and firearms and resulted in 10 arrests for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

Crime - Handcuffs - Handcuffs laying on top of fingerprint chart in file
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ROCHESTER — A joint effort by local law enforcement and federal agencies netted 25 arrests in the Twin Cities and Rochester, according to U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger.

Of those arrests, 10 were in Rochester and are each facing one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in U.S. District Court in Minnesota.

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The 10 in Rochester were arrested Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022, by members of the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the Southeast Minnesota Violent Crime Enforcement Team.

Those charged; Scott Christopher Dobblelaere, Aaron Raymond Dombovy, Marshall Michael Galbreath, Edward Gary Kearns, Jerry Lee Milliken, Mercedes Kay Milliken, Lisa Marie Musolf, James Lee Nelson, Lisa Christine Phillips and Samuel Orlo Schafer are accused of conspiring to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine between September 2021 and July 2022.

The Rochester operation involved more than 60 federal, state and local law enforcement officers and also resulted in the seizure of drugs and firearms.

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These cases are the result of joint investigations conducted by the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, the United States Marshals Service, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office, the Minneapolis Police Department, the St. Paul Police Department, the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office, the Rochester Police Department, and other law enforcement partners.

The joint operation in the Twin Cities was led by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, along with the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, the United States Marshals Service, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Violent Offender Task Force, the Minneapolis Police Department, the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office, and the St. Paul Police Department. It involved over 100 federal, state and local law enforcement officers, including out-of-state special respond teams.

On May 3, 2022, U.S. Attorney Luger announced a new federal violent crime strategy that expanded capacity within the U.S. Attorney’s Office to prosecute violent crime cases. Every criminal prosecutor in the office has assisted in the effort by taking on violent crime cases, including carjackings, illegal possession of firearms and/or ammunition, drug trafficking, straw purchasing, armed Hobbs Act robberies, well as cases involving the illegal possession of machine guns and ghost guns.

“Violent crime is at an all-time high and the statistics are alarming, but that is only part of the story. The nature of the violence has changed. By their actions, their weapons and their words, violent offenders are displaying an absolute disdain for the law, and a disregard for human life,” Luger said. “Criminals are engaging in an appalling level of violence, using militaristic weapons and accessories that not only change the nature of the violence, but also the resulting harm. Several recent cases and the enforcement operations we’re announcing today illustrate our violent crime strategy in action. We are making progress in our efforts to break this violent crime trend, but there is still more work to be done. We will not let up; we owe it to our communities.”

Throughout the summer, law enforcement has been working in tandem with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to identify, investigate, and bring charges against the most violent offenders. Just yesterday, a joint law enforcement operation culminated in the arrest of 15 violent offenders and the seizure of 32 illegal firearms and machine guns. All 15 defendants have been charged in federal court.

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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