NORTH MANKATO — Two men were charged Wednesday after a North Mankato drug and counterfeit money bust in what police are saying is the first case of a sizable amount of heroin showing up in the area.
Geramy Durell Hopson, 27, and his brother Isaiah Derrick Cooper-Jackson, 27, were arrested earlier this week at or near an apartment at 317 Page Ave. The apartment building is directly across the street from the tennis courts in Wheeler Park.
Police were concerned the men could be armed, so they began with a stakeout and arrested Hopson after he left in his vehicle. Hopson told them there was one person in the apartment, and Cooper-Jackson was found lying on a bed and arrested without incident, according to the criminal complaint.
Minnesota River Valley Drug Task Force Agent Andy Johnson said that while there has been an epidemic of heroin in the Twin Cities area and other communities, this is the first significant amount of heroin confiscated here.
"The metro area is just getting bombarded with inconsistent strengths of heroin and a lot of overdoses. We've been happy we haven't seen it, but people are trying to bring it down to us."
Johnson said they had been working on the case for some time and had enough evidence to get a warrant to search the apartment. They received a "no-knock" warrant because the suspects had been around guns in the past.
No guns were found. They found 17 quarter-gram heroin packets that would sell for $30 to $50 each, about 7 grams of cocaine, digital scales that tested positive for cocaine and $1,600 in counterfeit $100 and $20 bills.
"The bills were pretty good. The paper didn't feel right, but the look was very good," Johnson said.
They also found a drug ledger with four nicknames and how much they owed. Someone called LowKey, for example, owes $225, while a person known as "P" owes $350.
Johnson said agents believe Hopson is part of a group that is making the counterfeit money. He said North Mankato police last month collected a garbage bag from the Dumpster behind the apartments that contained $5,500 in counterfeit bills. "The color on them was off, so we believe they threw them away." He said the search did not turn up computers, printers or paper that indicated money was being counterfeited in the apartment.
The public defender assigned to the case had yet to review it as of Wednesday afternoon.
Hopson and Cooper-Jackson are originally from Chicago and had lived in the Twin Cities area. Hopson has been around Mankato for a couple of years.
Hopson has a previous felony conviction for assault with a weapon.
Both men were charged with eight counts of either possessing or selling illegal drugs and one count of making illegal currency, all felonies.
They were jailed as of Wednesday evening and their first court appearances are June 25.