Rise in drug arrests throughout the state

This summer has seen several major narcotic arrests along I-80 keeping troopers busy.
Published: Sep. 6, 2022 at 11:17 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 7, 2022 at 11:00 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - It seems as though every week this summer, we’re hearing about a large drug bust somewhere in the state and with that, it’s hard to say whether or not Nebraska is the end destination for these drugs, or simply a part of the route.

The past couple of weeks have been busy for the Nebraska State Patrol and various sheriff’s offices, making several major arrests in drug busts. On Monday, Lancaster County deputies discovered 79 pounds of methamphetamine in a truck traveling from California with a street value of nearly $400,000. Two people now face multiple felony charges.

“Unfortunately, it’s getting much more common,” said Lancaster County Sheriff Terry Wagner.

Wagner, whose deputies carried out that search, says they are seeing an increase in the amount of drugs moving along I-80.

“We’re seeing more and more and larger and larger quantities going through our state,” he noted.

It’s no secret that I-80 is commonly used to move drugs. Last week, troopers arrested four people after finding more than 100 pounds of suspected meth and 9 pounds of suspected fentanyl near Utica.

And it isn’t just here, other neighboring states see their roadways as a passage for traffickers, too.

“I-70 in Kansas and I-90 in South Dakota, they’re all seeing this,” said Wagner.

Many deputies have special training to know what to look for if they have probable cause. When these drugs are seized, Wagner says it helps to shake up a vicious cycle.

“There’s a health hazard to the users plus there’s the crime associated with the users getting the funds to buy the meth in the first place. Anytime we can get that quantity of dugs off the street is a good day.”