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Mahnomen County police ask for help as drug overdoses rise

Marisa Sargent, mother of two, recently lost her life to a drug overdose - something that has become far too common in Mahnomen County, officials say. (submitted photo)

MAHNOMEN COUNTY—Family and friends in Mahnomen County are reeling after a string of drug overdoses left one dead and others hospitalized.

Four overdose in 24 hours rocked Mahnomen County, one claiming the life of 23 year old Marisa Sargent, a mother of two.

"She was my favorite person in the world," said Neka Sargent, Marisa's cousin.

Neka says it's an epidemic that's shaken both her family and the community.

"She had her whole life ahead of her, and she knew that. She wanted to straighten up and be good for her babies, and be there for her babies. It's just heartbreaking," said Neka.

One undercover drug investigator has spent over 25 years battling the epidemic, but now they're facing a new deadly combination.

"It has a devastating impact on society in general and the community," said the undercover investigator, "there's a hot batch or a bad batch of heroin that's mixed with a stronger percentage of fentanyl or car fentanyl and other things."

This week, the Mahnomen County Sheriff responded to three calls within 15 minutes, he says it's tough on a small community where they often know the individuals.

"The second tough thing is you have to go tell their family and that just doesn't get easy," said Doug Krier, Mahnomen County Sheriff.

Another battle emerging is something called "Narc parties" where groups of people get high, hoping to have enough narcan to avoid death.

"If they go out, they give them a hit of narcan and they think they're fine. They're not actually fine, they need to get medically checked," said Krier.

Now, both families and law enforcement are asking for the public's help to put the problem behind bars.

"We're looking for is help from the public to give us information as to who is bringing it in.," said Krier.

"The drug dealers need to get out of here, we need to come together as a community and fight this epidemic and get it out of here," said Neka.

Heartbreak and loss, revitalizing the effort to keep the community safe.

The Mahnomen County Sheriff's Department and White Earth Police have responded to 28 overdose calls this year and nearly 800 medical calls, which are often involving drugs.