A Drug Enforcement Agency special agent in Nebraska says drug trafficking is growing worse and is expanding.
DEA agent Matthew Barden says drug trafficking is a growing threat to the safety and well-being of Americans.
“There’s not a bigger illegal business in the world today than drug trafficking. It is the largest money-generating illegal business around,” Barden asserts during a news conference hosted by Gov. Pete Ricketts on recent major drug busts in Nebraska.
Barden says the DEA expects a record number of overdose deaths this year: 70,000.
Barden says the hardest part of trafficking in illicit drugs is getting the drugs across the border. Once that is done, smugglers need only elude law enforcement, according to Barden. Barden adds, even though Nebraska law enforcement is on a record pace for drug busts this year, officers can never seize all the drugs being transported across the country.
Nebraska State Patrol troopers and other law enforcement agencies throughout Nebraska have made several major busts in the last year, including one bust which confiscated nearly a ton of marijuana and another which took more than 100 pounds of fentanyl off the streets, with an estimated value of $20 million. Nebraska law enforcement officers have seized between 275 and 300 pounds of fentanyl since October.
Barden says drug traffickers have expanded their business operations.
“And these drug trafficking organizations, they don’t just, they’re not just drug trafficking organizations anymore,” Barden says. “They’re money launderers, gun smugglers, human smugglers. Anything that you could smuggle, that is illegal, they will move.”
NSP troopers have already seized a total of 4,500 pounds of marijuana this year, more than the record seized in all of 2012. Seizures of methamphetamine this year have already exceeded the total seized last year.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]