Drug busts triple in Seward County during pandemic

SEWARD, Neb. (KLKN) – The Seward County Sheriff’s Office said that since the pandemic, it’s seen a dramatic increase in hard drugs and larger quantities traveling through the area.

The Sheriff’s Office said the drugs it has confiscated has more than tripled in the last two years.

“I stopped a car and seized 27 pounds of heroin a few years, two or three years back. That was the most heroin I had ever seen in one place in my life and my whole 35-year career,” Sheriff Michael Vance said. “But now, 100 pounds of heroin is pretty common.”

SCSO said it has seen everything from heroin, cocaine, meth and fentanyl increase since the pandemic.

“I worked criminal interdiction for 12 years and never seen nowhere near as much as I have seen in the last two years,” Vance said. “You could probably take any of those five or six years together, and not put all of it together to make up what we have got in the last two years. It’s scary when you have that much coming through.”

In fact, it’s gotten so bad that Seward County had to move some of its confiscated drugs to other agencies because it ran out of space in its own evidence room.

“We don’t plan an evidence building to hold that much drugs; we never expected that much drugs to come through our county,” Vance said.

A recent traffic stop led authorities to 900 pounds of fentanyl, the most concerning drug for Vance. Each Seward County deputy now carries two doses of Narcan on them at all times to protect themselves and others.

“Narcan’s expensive, but it’s something we need,” Vance said.

And it does not just stop on Interstate 80. SCSO is seeing local drug activity pick up around the county, which is why it created a drug task force three months ago to work throughout six counties.

Vance believes that it will help the war on drugs, but he knows this won’t solve the problem 100 percent.

“I know when we stop a load with 200 pounds of cocaine in it, 125 pounds of fentanyl, I sit back and think this is probably going to save at least one person’s life,” Vance said.

The sheriff said there is no specific answer to what’s causing the increase, but he believes that the pandemic has a lot to do with it.

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