DEA’s Strong Partnerships in South Dakota Result in Higher Drug Seizures for 2020
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) saw a jump in drug seizures across South Dakota in 2020, as compared to 2019, with methamphetamine topping the list of most commonly seized drugs at 150 pounds. By comparison, in 2019, DEA investigators seized 29 pounds of methamphetamine, half the weight of South Dakota’s largest 2020 single seizure weighing 59 pounds.
DEA Omaha Division Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Justin C. King attributes the higher drug seizure rate in South Dakota, including cocaine, fentanyl, heroin and marijuana, to strong partnerships with local, state, tribal and federal law enforcement partners.
“We’re fortunate to have such good relationships with our partners in South Dakota,” SAC King said. “Collectively, we’ve eliminated several hundred pounds of dangerous drugs from making their way into our communities.”
In addition to higher seizures of methamphetamine, DEA agents noted an increase in fentanyl entering the state. Fentanyl, most commonly found in pill form, but also available as a powder, is on the rise across the Midwest. The potentially lethal substance is approximately 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times stronger than heroin. Two milligrams, equivalent to a few grains of salt, is considered a lethal dose. By this standard, South Dakota’s seizure of 312 grams of fentanyl in 2020 equates to approximately 156,000 lethal doses.
“Counterfeit pills are flooding the market,” SAC King said. “This isn’t just an East Coast or West Coast problem, it’s a problem facing the entire nation which is evident by the significant amount of pills coming into our Midwestern Division. We want to make people aware of the dangers of taking these drugs. These pills on the street are not legitimate, but instead, mixed with sometimes lethal amounts of fentanyl.”
Cocaine trended upward in South Dakota with more than 1,000 doses, worth approximately $12,000, taken off the streets by DEA investigators. Marijuana also jumped with agents in South Dakota seizing 19 pounds in 2020 as opposed to 7.5 pounds in 2019.
The DEA Omaha Division is a five state territory that includes Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota as well as counties along the western border of Illinois and Wisconsin.