Omaha Police and DEA’s new overdose taskforce to take down drug dealers

Their official collaboration launched in September of 2022.
A local task force is combating the growing prevalence of fentanyl in Omaha.
Published: Jan. 11, 2023 at 6:16 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Omaha Police and the DEA Omaha Division have been working under the radar to take down drug dealers in the metro.

“We are at a point in our society where truly it takes one pill to kill somebody,” said Emily Murray with the DEA’s Omaha division.

Now more of the pills found on the streets are lethal. Murray says that in 2021, four of 10 pills had potentially lethal doses. In 2022, six of 10 were lethal. The sheer number of drugs coming into the county is also increasing.

“The pills are coming in mass quantities,” Murray said. “So whereas our agents and our investigators used to seize maybe a few pills a time just a few years ago, that number got bumped up to a hundred pills at time in a single seizure. And now it’s not uncommon for our agents or our investigators to seize thousands of pills in a single seizure.”

Officials also tell 6 News that “rainbow fentanyl,” which are pills in a range of colors, have also made it to Omaha. They warn people to be extra vigilant and not buy any pills off the streets or on social media.

The Omaha Police and the DEA task force targets the local dealers and tracks the drugs back to the source.

“People that are on that task force, their only focus is going to be overdoses and that’s it,” said Lt. Steve Fornoff with Omaha Police’s narcotics unit. “The investigations can be more thorough, they’re quicker, and we can go after whoever the dealer is and try to prevent them from harming somebody else.”

In just a few months the task force has arrested and charged dealers, though they don’t want to say how many. They say they’ve also taken deadly pills of the streets of Omaha.

“When we take one of those shipments off, there could be hundreds of thousands of lethal doses in there,” said Fornoff.

While the number of officers on the force is confidential, people on the task force have jurisdiction across state lines.

“All of our leads are telling us and our resources that the drugs are primarily coming from Mexico,” said Fornoff.

Murray added that the chemicals needed to make fentanyl, which was responsible for two thirds of the overdoses in 2021, come from China. It’s then pressed and distributed by two main cartels in Mexico.

Lt. Fornoff said the task force is federally funded and doesn’t have an expiration date.