The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Omaha Division has seen a 31 percent increase in methamphetamine seizures in 2019, reporting approximately 1,437 pounds, estimated at $9 million dollars, collected across the region during the first six months of the year. In 2018, agents from the Omaha Divisions’ five states, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota, seized 1,639 pounds of methamphetamine.
A highly addictive synthetic drug which can be swallowed, snorted, injected or smoked, methamphetamine is finding its way into the United States via the Southwest border. Seizures along the border increased 255 percent from 2012 to 2017, with the bulk of methamphetamine entering the Midwest through Arizona.
“The Omaha Division is saturated with Mexican-sourced methamphetamine, as evidenced by the low price and high purity,” Special Agent in Charge Richard Salter Jr., said. “In 2005, Congress passed the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act which basically forced domestic meth producers out of business. Mexican cartels took advantage of the vacuum that was created and are now producing hundreds of pounds of highly potent methamphetamine which is coming across our very porous Southwest border.”
Purity refers to the quality of the product, while potency is the effect that the substance has on the body, the determining factor in how high a person will get after using the substance.
Today’s methamphetamine is 71 percent cheaper than it was in 2005 and agents are seizing loads in double digit and occasional triple digit quantities. In 2005, at the peak of domestic methamphetamine production, it was uncommon for agents in the Midwest to seize multiple pound quantities of meth in a single raid. Fourteen years later, agents in the Omaha Division reported 14 seizures of 30 or more pounds of methamphetamine in the first six months of 2019. In Minnesota, agents seized 250 pounds of methamphetamine, while agents in Iowa hit upon 119 pounds in a recent raid.
“The most commonly seized drug across our Division, and pretty much the entire United States, is methamphetamine,” Salter said. “It’s a dangerous substance and DEA agents are working hard to rid our communities and schools of this poison.”