- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 23, 2021

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - The seizure of illegal drugs in Nebraska surged last year, according to federal drug agents for the state, and officials warned that methamphetamine and the powerful painkiller fentanyl remained dangerous threats in the state.

Authorities in Nebraska seized 421 pounds (191 kilograms) of meth last year - a jump of 68% from the year before, the Omaha field division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration said Tuesday in a news release. Officials also seized 4,644 pounds (2,106.5 kilograms) of marijuana, six times the amount seized the year prior.

The meth and marijuana seizures for 2020 combined had an estimated street value of $13.3 million, the agency said.

Last year, DEA agents also seized more than 5.5 pounds (2.5 kilograms) of fentanyl and 1,000 fentanyl-laced counterfeit pills, the release said.

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

Omaha Division Special Agent in Charge Justin King said agents have seen a jump in fentanyl and counterfeit pills across the division’s territory, which includes Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.

“We want to make people aware of the fact that pills purchased off of the street should be considered incredibly dangerous and potentially lethal,” King said.

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