Minnesota’s Violent Crime Enforcement Teams saw increases in seizures in several major drug categories in the state in 2018.

Those teams are partially funded by the Department of Public Safety Office of Justice Programs and Minnesota Department of Public Safety officials say they are multijurisdictional task forces that investigate narcotics, gangs and violent crime.

The seizure of prescription pills was down in Minnesota from more than 214,000 in 2017 to over 16,000 last year but officials say that is misleading because there was at least one significant seizure of nearly 200,000 pills in 2017.

For the 11th straight year, VCET reported seizing a record amount of methamphetamine at over 1,100 pounds. The numbers show that’s a more than 500-pound increase from 2017 and there was just 68 pounds found in 2007 when meth use was at its lowest.

The amount of marijuana wax confiscated last year was over 160 pounds, more than double the prior year, but the statistics show leafy marijuana seizures were down more than 1,600 pounds.

After years of declining cocaine seizures, DPS officials say they have seen an increase in the last three years.

The report notes that synthetic opioids are creating a public safety hazard and a very small amount of one drug, Fentanyl, can be deadly. DPS adds that first responders should take extra precaution when handling unknown substances because of this.