Reports of violence, drug sales down after joint investigation into Winner Gas Station and Merwin Liquors

Investigation by AG Ellison, City of Minneapolis, and Hennepin County prompted changes to stem illegal activity on Minneapolis corner

May 18, 2023 (SAINT PAUL) — Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced today the successful results of a joint investigation that his office, with the assistance of the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office and the Minneapolis City Attorney’s Office, conducted into the inaction on the part of Merwin Liquors and Winner Gas Station to take steps to stem the illegal activity occurring on their properties. 

The Attorney General’s investigation, undertaken with the assistance of the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office and the Minneapolis City Attorney’s Office, focused on widespread criminal activity that has been maintained or permitted on the respective properties of Merwin Liquors and Winner Gas Station. The investigation further revealed that similar unlawful nuisance activity was ongoing on both premises. Winner Gas Station, Merwin Liquors, and the intersection between the businesses have been the site of at least three large-scale shootings in September 2022 alone.   

State, county, and city attorneys reviewed numerous police reports and worked with the Minneapolis Police Department and community members in conducting the investigation. During the course of that investigation, Winner Gas Station began ensuring that people on its property were there for legitimate business reasons.  Merwin Liquors began transitioning ownership of the liquor store to a new owner, which has indicated that it has engaged and will continue engaging in violence interruption on the property.  Since the announcement of the joint investigation, reports to police of violence and other illegal activity have significantly decreased.    

“I’m using the powers of my office to take new approaches to stemming the epidemic of gun violence, like using civil law to hold companies accountable for illegal behavior in their businesses or on their properties that can spiral out of control and threaten a whole community,” Attorney General Ellison said. “I applaud companies that take responsibility for the condition of their premises and the duty they owe their customers to be safe and feel safe. For those that don’t take steps to stem violence and illegal activity on their property, my office will be there to ensure all Minnesotans feel safe in their neighborhood.” 

The Attorney General’s Office, as well as the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office and Minneapolis City Attorney’s Office, will continue to vigilantly monitor the properties and any reports of illegal activity occurring at the properties. In letters sent today to both Merwin Liquors and Winner Gas Station, the investigating agencies informed both businesses that they will not hesitate to take additional enforcement action if reports of nuisance activity at the properties resume. 

The Attorney General encourages individuals with complaints about businesses permitting illegal activity on their properties to voice their concerns to the Office by calling (651) 296-3353 or by filling out a complaint form online