Drug Seizures Surge in 2020, Fentanyl Remains a Threat in Nebraska

Drug Seizures Surge in 2020, Fentanyl Remains a Threat in Nebraska

Marijuana and methamphetamine were the top two drugs seized by Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigators in Nebraska in 2020, with 2.5 kilograms of fentanyl, or the equivalent of one-and-a-half million lethal doses, also making its presence known across the state.

Methamphetamine seizures jumped 68 percent in 2020, while marijuana seizures were more than six times higher than what was found in 2019. Last year, agents from the DEA Omaha Division Office seized 421 pounds of methamphetamine and 4,644 pounds of marijuana. Combined, these drugs have a street value of approximately $13.3 million.

Multi-pound methamphetamine seizures have become more common in Nebraska as demand for the highly potent Mexican product continues to rise. In 2020, DEA took off 38 pounds of methamphetamine in one event, six pounds more than the single seizure high of 2019, of 32 pounds.

“Last year’s drug trends were interesting to follow as drug trafficking organizations adjusted to the COVID pandemic by changing prices and finding new ways to push their dangerous products into Nebraska,” Omaha Division Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Justin C. King said.

In addition to marijuana and methamphetamine, agents seized approximately 2.5 kilograms of fentanyl last year with an additional 1,000 fentanyl-laced counterfeit pills also collected by agents. Fentanyl is up to100 times more potent than morphine. A lethal dose of fentanyl is two milligrams, or the equivalent of a few grains of salt.

“We’ve seen a jump in fentanyl and counterfeit pills across our five state Division,” SAC King said. “We want to make people aware of the fact that pills purchased off of the street should be considered incredibly dangerous and potentially lethal. The makers of counterfeit pills are not careful or precise in their measurements. One pill may have 1 milligram of fentanyl, while another from the same batch may have 3 milligrams, or enough to kill a person. The only prescription medication people should be taking is one that comes directly from a pharmacy or licensed physician.”

Cocaine was the third most commonly seized drug in Nebraska, although numbers dropped slightly from 2019 to 2020.

The DEA Omaha Division is a five state territory that includes Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota as well as counties along the western border of Illinois and Wisconsin.