It was a record year for Nebraska State Patrol troopers in their fight to get drug smugglers off the streets Troopers have seized a record amount of a variety of drugs and made a record number of arrests in 2018.
Colonel John Bolduc, Superintendent of the Nebraska State Patrol, says his troopers kept very busy this year and not with the type of drug busts made in previous years. Bolduc says, in the past, troopers making drug busts would normally find marijuana, with the occasional bust for meth or heroin.
“Now we’re seeing quite a variety and you’re starting to see more mixed loads where you’re seeing marijuana, THC products that are legal in some states, but are being diverted to the black market in transit to other states and, on occasion, we’re starting to see other loads with those. So, meth mixed with marijuana, THC products, things like that."
Governor Pete Ricketts joined troopers on Thursday at a news conference and praised their efforts over the past year. In 2018 troopers seized 8,254 pounds of marijuana, just shy of the record set in 2006. Troopers seized four times the record set for THC products, a total of 1,750 pounds.
Methamphetamine busts topped the record set in 2001 at 185 pounds with the seizure of heroin edging the record set in 2014, a total of 43.11 pounds taken this year.
Troopers made more than 1,000 felony arrests this year, which is the first time that many has been recorded in a single year.
Fentanyl busts far exceeded the record set in 2017. Troopers seized 136 pounds of fentanyl this year, their busts gaining national attention for NSP, including praise from President Donald Trump during a White House ceremony.
Bolduc says the fentanyl busts pose serious health hazards to the public and the troopers. “So, we’ve changed some of our tactics in the way we handle that," Bolduc say. “It’s very much a hands-off approach, trying to minimize exposure to our troopers so that we can get that to the lab. At the lab of course, they have to take great precautions, so that they are not exposed to this very deadly chemical. So, it really is a game changer.”