DEA Omaha Division Notes Record Fentanyl Seizures in 2023 Methamphetamine Still Prevalent in Midwestern States


The five state Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Omaha Division marked an 83 percent increase in the number of fentanyl pills seized in 2023 and removed an estimated 2.9 million lethal doses of fentanyl both in pill and powder form, from Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and eight counties along the western border of Illinois and Wisconsin. Nationally, DEA seized more than 77 million fentanyl pills and nearly 12,000 pounds of fentanyl, amounting to more than 386 million deadly doses, enough to kill every American. 

Within the DEA Omaha Division, Minnesota recorded the largest increase in pill seizures, with investigators taking off more than 417,000 pills for a 127 percent increase over 2022 totals. Iowa followed suit noting a 105 percent increase over its 2022 pill seizures, with more than 141,000 pills seized in 2023. North Dakota pill seizures increased nearly 50 percent while Nebraska and South Dakota numbers declined.

“Fentanyl is the deadliest drug threat our country has ever faced,” DEA Omaha Division Special Agent in Charge Steven T. Bell said. “The DEA Omaha Division covers a vast expanse of land containing urban, suburban and rural communities. Sadly, none of these communities are exempt from the tragic consequences that can come from experimenting with or using fentanyl. This drug is potentially lethal in such a small amount, that it can fit on the tip of a pencil. We’re seeing it in both pill and powder form all across our Division.”

Fentanyl is the leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of 18 and 45. DEA laboratory testing in 2023 showed that 7 out of 10 pills tested contain a potentially deadly dose of fentanyl. This is an increase from 4 out of 10 pills in 2021 and 6 out of 10 pills in 2022. A potentially deadly dose is considered just two milligrams of fentanyl.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is predicting record numbers of drug poisonings for 2023, with their latest estimate for the 12-month period ending June 2023 at 112,323 American lives lost.  Nearly 70 percent of these drug poisonings are from fentanyl.   

Two states, Nebraska and North Dakota, recorded a jump in methamphetamine seizures from 2022 to 2023. In Nebraska, DEA investigators seized more than 1,000 pounds of methamphetamine, marking the largest seizure of meth in five years. Cocaine seizures were also up in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota in 2023.

For more information on 2023 DEA Omaha Division seizure data, please contact Public Information Officer Emily Murray at 571-387-3545.