OMAHA, NEB. (KOTA TV) - Felony drug arrests involving meth have been on the rise here in Pennington County, but it's also a rising trend across the upper Midwest.
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Omaha Division, there has been a 31% increase in meth seized across their 5 state jurisdiction.
From January to July of 2019, agents seized roughly 925.52 lbs of meth in Minnesota, 375.09 lbs in Iowa, 77.73 lbs in South Dakota, 51.94 lbs in Nebraska and 6.22 lbs in North Dakota. A total of 1,437 pounds have been seized at an estimated value of $9 million dollars.
According to the DEA Omaha Division, meth is the most commonly seized drug not only across it's division but also the United States. It's finding its way into the country via the Southwest border. Seizures have increase in recent years to 255% with the bulk of it entering the Midwest through Arizona.
"The Omaha Division is saturated with Mexican-sourced methamphetamine, as evidenced by the low price and high purity," said DEA Omaha Division Special Agent in Charge Richard Salter Jr. "In 2005, Congress passed the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act which basically forced domestic meth producers out of the business. Mexican cartels took advantage of the vacuum that was created and are now producing hundreds of of pounds of potent methamphetamine which is coming across our very porous Southwest border."
Last year DEA Omaha Division agents seized 1,639 lbs across their jurisdiction.