The five-state area overseen by the Omaha Division of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration is “saturated with Mexican-sourced methamphetamine,” the DEA says.
The division reported that it collected nearly 1,440 pounds of meth across the region during the first six months of the year, an increase of 31% over the same period last year.
In all of 2018, agents in the region seized about 1,640 pounds of meth.
In Nebraska, meth seizures in the first six months of 2019 totaled nearly 52 pounds, DEA spokeswoman Emily Murray said. In Iowa, that total exceeded 375 pounds.
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At a DEA-estimated $6,250 per pound of meth, that adds up to $325,000 worth of meth confiscated so far this year in Nebraska and more than $2.3 million in Iowa.
The DEA’s meth numbers don’t include drug seizures in which the DEA played no role, Murray said.
In 2018, the meth numbers for Nebraska totaled nearly 234 pounds. In Iowa, the total exceeded 382 pounds.
Meth today is 71% cheaper than it was in 2005, and agents are seizing huge quantities of it, said Richard Salter Jr., special agent in charge of DEA’s Omaha Division. 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, the agency said. Fourteen years later, DEA agents in the region reported 14 seizures of 30 or more pounds of meth in the first six months of 2019. Today’s meth is highly potent and pure, Salter said in a press release.
Through June of this year, DEA agents in Minnesota seized more than 925 pounds of meth. In South Dakota, the number was nearly 78 pounds. In North Dakota, it was a little more than 6 pounds.
Meth is a highly addictive synthetic drug that can be swallowed, snorted, injected or smoked. Seizures along the southern border of the U.S. increased 255% from 2012 to 2017, the DEA said, with the bulk of methamphetamine entering the Midwest through Arizona.