The US Drug Enforcement Agency is wrapping up a year-long investigation that identified connections between Mexican drug cartels and communities in Iowa and elsewhere. Emily Murray, spokeswoman for the DEA Regional Office in Omaha, says Operation Last Mile provided valuable information.
Murray says the illegal, dangerous drugs are landing everywhere and there’s really nowhere in the U-S that isn’t being touched.
In the last year, investigators from the Omaha office linked 26 cases directly to the cartels. They made 87 arrests and seized 60 firearms tied to the cartels. Murray says they expect those numbers to rise, just as seizures of meth and fentanyl have risen exponentially.
Murray says they are seeing increased use of social media by the cartels to move their drugs. According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, drug overdose deaths climbed 34% in the past three years. Among Iowans 25 and younger, overdose deaths surged by 120%, while 470 lives were lost to drug overdoses in Iowa during 2021.