Drug trafficking in Nebraska is on the rise, according to the Douglas County, Nebraska Chief Deputy. Marijuana is being trafficked into the state from Colorado, where it is legal. The narcotic is being baked into candy, cocoa and brownies for transport. Interstate 80 in Nebraska is a common drug trafficking route, with drugs from Colorado, California, Texas and Arizona entering the state through this highway.
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Other drug trafficking rings in Nebraska exist through gangs in Omaha, Lincoln County, and ten other counties in Nebraska that have been designated as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas, or HIDTAs. Lincoln County is home to the crossroads of Interstate 80 with Highway 83, creating a major trafficking route for drug smugglers. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents in Nebraska are just one of the law enforcement groups working to dismantle these illegal smuggling operations.
Common Drugs of Abuse in Nebraska
According to a 2003 report by the National Drug Intelligence Center, methamphetamine is a real threat in Nebraska, with its abuse at a high level statewide. Its availability is high across the state, and meth is found in all communities in Nebraska. From 1998 to 2001, the amount of methamphetamine seized in Nebraska by law enforcement jumped from 33.2 kg to 48.3 kg. Also in 2001, the percentage of drug-related federal sentences in Nebraska was almost five times the average national percentage.
The Nebraska National Guard Counterdrug Task Force reports that marijuana is the most prevalent illegal drug in Nebraska. When ninth to twelfth graders were asked, 18 percent admitted to using marijuana within the past month. Other common drugs of abuse in Nebraska include alcohol and inhalants. Of almost 3000 Nebraska youth from ninth to twelfth grade surveyed, 78 percent admitted to having used alcohol. Twelve percent admitted to using inhalants, including sniffing glue, and inhaling paints, sprays, and aerosol cans.
Medical Marijuana in Nebraska
Medical marijuana has started flowing into Nebraska from Colorado, where it was recently legalized. Although Nebraska is one of 15 states that has decriminalized possession of less than an ounce of cannabis, law enforcement in Nebraska has complained that they spend too much time chasing down those illegally smuggling larger amounts of marijuana into Nebraska from Colorado when they should be going after “true” drug abusers and distributors. DEA agents in Nebraska have been working closely with law enforcement officials in Colorado in cross-border anti-marijuana operations.
How to Become a DEA Agent in Nebraska
The DEA requires that applicants who wish to begin careers with the DEA in Nebraska have a bachelor’s, J.D. or L.L.B. degree with a 2.95 accumulative GPA. Other’s meet the requirements for DEA training through previous experience in drug investigations. A bachelor’s degree may be accepted for applicants interested in becoming DEA agents who have extensive professional experience as a ship’s crewman or captain, or who are fluent in a specified foreign language, or who have a pilot’s license.
Nebraska is part of the DEA’s St. Louis Division. There are two DEA offices located within the state of Nebraska – a Post of Duty in North Platte and a District Office in Omaha. Tiras Cunningham is the Special Agent Recruiter for the St. Louis Division. He can be reached by telephone at (314) 538-4792.