Apple Valley police stumble upon largest heroin bust in Dakota County history
Warren Comeaux was in the wrong place at the wrong time and is $140,000 poorer as a result, not to mention the felony charges he faces.
Last spring, law enforcement officials in Hennepin, Anoka, and Ramsey counties went public with concerns about a dramatic uptick in heroin use in the Twin Cities. It turns out a good portion of the metro area's supply may have been riding around in the car Apple Valley police found Warren Comeaux in last Friday.
Comeaux, a 48-year-old Brooklyn Park resident, was arrested and charged with felony counts of first-degree drug possession and sale after the car he was sitting in was found to contain more than twice as much heroin as Dakota County officials have ever seized in an entire year.
Police were responding to an unrelated report of a domestic disturbance just after midnight last Friday when they came across a car parked in front of an apartment building. They saw a man -- later identified as Comeaux -- who "appeared to be digging in the vehicle," a criminal complaint says.
Officers became concerned Comeaux was digging for a weapon and ordered him out of the vehicle. He raised suspicions further by unsuccessfully trying to run away during a pat-down.
The Pioneer Press details what happened next:
While searching the car for a weapon, officers noticed a vent on the dashboard sticking out farther than normal. Inside were the drugs -- about 2.6 pounds -- wrapped in electrical tape, the complaint said.
Sgt. Dan Bianconi, head of the Dakota County Drug Task Force, said that much heroin is easily worth $100,000 or more.
Bianconi called the find "the largest seizure of heroin that I think I've ever seen."
"To keep the large quantity of this seizure in perspective, we have never seized more than 500 grams of heroin in an entire year in Dakota County. This seizure alone is over twice that amount," Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said in a news release.
"Heroin use and abuse has been increasing for several years in Minnesota," Backstrom continued. "This is a significant threat to public safety and the health and welfare of those abusing this extremely dangerous and addictive drug."
Comeaux's attorney, Frederick Goetz, told the PiPress his client's arrest was "strictly wrong place, wrong time," adding that Comeaux doesn't own the car officers found him in and that "it's not his dope."
Comeaux is free on $60,000 bail and isn't due back in court until July 1. He's already served 15 years in prison thanks to a previous federal conviction for conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine and heroin.
The flukey chain of events culminating in Dakota County's largest-ever heroin bust goes to show that good police work, like anything else, sometimes involves simply getting lucky -- or in Comeaux's case, extremely unlucky.
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