We hear it too often, a meth bust, a fire caused by a mobile meth lab and other crimes committed by people, while under the influence of methamphetamine. So how big of a problem is it in Nebraska and where is the drug coming from?
The Western Intelligence & Narcotics Group (WING) and Cooperative Operation for Drug Enforcement (CODE) said meth is in every county small or large, destroying the lives of anyone who touches it. “Methamphetamine is our most serious problem,” said CODE Task Force Coordinator Eric Rice.
Meth has been impacting Nebraskans long before the fictional hit show Breaking Bad, which put the reality of the distribution and manufacturing of the drug in many people’s minds. WING Drug Task Force Commander Dana Korell said, “Although this show is a good drama, it doesn’t depict what’s happening here but labs like the ones in the show can be found south of the border.”
“A majority of the meth that we deal with is brought into the state of Nebraska by transporting organizations most of it is actually manufactured in Mexico then transported into the United States,” said Rice.
“It’s 80, 85, 90 percent pure meth which is a change at one time 20–30 percent was about average but the stuff we are seeing lately is very high purity,” explained Korell.
Authorities say most meth comes into the state in cars. “It’s just people making road trips to wherever to pick it up and bring it back,” said Korell. But some will do whatever it takes to discreetly traffic the drug. “The informant said it is being smuggled into Nebraska inside women and so sure enough we worked on that taper and yea there was five ounces,” Korell added. WING Drug Task force covers 11 counties in western Nebraska.
CODE task force covers 22 counties in central Nebraska. In 2013, they seized 2,304 grams of methamphetamine, made 76 arrests for possession of methamphetamine, 20 arrests for trafficking/distribution, 22 of the arrests were Federal Indictments. Just a year later in 2014, they seized 14,148 grams of methamphetamine, made 84 arrests for possession of methamphetamine, 33 arrests for trafficking/distribution, 26 of the arrests were Federal Indictments.
Officials say cocaine at first was the drug of choice in Nebraska until meth took over. “Meth is a central nervous stimulant like cocaine, but meth last a lot longer,” explained Rice. “So if you buy a $100 worth of meth which is a gram, you will get a lot more dosage units and the substance will last you a lot longer for the same price.”
Authority say where there is meth addicts’ crime likely follows. “We have a lot of shoplifting going on around here and I think the majority of it is to bring the property back to the store once you take it and get you cash to go get meth,” said Korell. Law enforcement added those getting their hands on the drug start as early as in their teens. “They really don’t care much about anything else, but meth it just consumes them.”