LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) – Lincoln police seized record amounts of illicit drugs in Lincoln in 2021, and they said so far that trend is continuing into 2022.
In 2021, police saw 145% increase in the amount of cocaine seized, from an average of 730 grams a year between 2017 and 2020 to 3,430 grams seized in 2021, that’s just over seven pounds. The department seized 42,878 grams of meth, compared to the four year average of 10,923 grams, for about 95 pounds total in 2021. Lastly, the saw a 414% increase in the amount of pills seized, taking 6,503 pills off the street, compared to a four year average of 1,265 pills a year.
Capt. Dale said part of this is because officers are digging deeper into investigations.
”We’re working to not be satisfied on with a single arrest but to work up the chain and dismantle those so drugs don’t continue to circulate,” Dale said.
The State Patrol, which has also seen increases in drug seizures.
Troopers seized 99 pounds of cocaine in 2021, a 126% increase over the previous four-year average. They also saw a 24% increase in meth seized, taking 204 pounds of Lincoln streets. NSP said they’re taking this same focus on drug crimes.
”We’re getting better at leveraging technology and collaborating with partners and sharing information to find those involved in illicit drug trade,” Lt. Eric Jones said.
Both agencies tell 10/11 another contributing factor is a bigger presence of foreign drugs in the community.
”It’s why we’re working with the US Attorney’s Office, the DEA, the FBI to train local law enforcement and task forces so they can become better at combating illicit drug trade and meth in communities,” Jones said.
LPD said they’re seeing a bigger cartel presence.
”They’re putting people in our region, in our community to help distribute drugs,” Dale said.
LPD said they aren’t seeing an increase in violence associated, but the increase in drug traffic is still a concern.
”Sometimes you hear people say drugs are a victimless crime, but it leads to more poverty, more children who don’t have food and clothing and shelter,” Dale said. “It leads to property crimes and losing loved ones.”
That is one of the department’s biggest worries because 2021 also saw a 102% increase in non-fatal drug overdoses, with 175 accidental overdoses.
”We had that large spike in July and August then it settled down but even still it was a record year for overdoses and that kind of continued into this year it’s very alarming,” Dale said.
The overdose trend isn’t the only one continuing into 2022. Police said they are still seeing those drug seizure numbers continue to stay steady. They said meth will continue to be their biggest priority, as well as opioids and fentanyl.
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