WASHINGTON (GrayDC) -- (8/20/2019) - As the opioid epidemic swells in the United States, there's another deadly drug that's making a comeback.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Omaha Division has seen a 31 percent increase in methamphetamine seizures in 2019. (Source: DEA)
"We're talking super labs," said former Drug Enforcement Administration Agent Kevin Hartmann. "Super labs that can produce multi hundred kilograms of methamphetamine."
In 2005, Congress passed the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act which regulated the sale of legal drugs, like Sudafed and cough suppressants, which were used to manufacture meth locally.
It worked for a while. Officials say, it almost eliminated the production of meth in the U.S.
"That's the good news," said Hartmann. "The bad news is that these producers of meth ramped up operations in Mexico and now they have these super labs that provide the majority of meth to the United States."
The drug enforcement administration says meth seizures have increased 255 percent since 2012. Last year, agents in the Omaha Division took more than 1,600 pounds of the synthetic drug off the streets.
Now, Hartmann is calling on Congress to grant officers more authority to intercept cartel communications. Republican Sen. John Thune of South Dakota believes the solution is to strengthen border security.
"That's a combination of technology and drones and manpower," said Thune. "Because one of the best ways to shut that down is to make sure it never gets to South Dakota in the first place."
According to the DEA, methamphetamine is 71 percent cheaper than it was in 2005.