U.S. Attorneys from Iowa and Nebraska joined forces this week in Omaha to announce they’ll cooperate to crack down on illegal drug-makers on both sides of the border. Matt Whitaker, US Attorney for Iowa’s Southern District, met in Omaha with Nebraska US Attorney Mike Heavican, who says Iowa’s got the toughest law around limiting sales of pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient in making meth.They may have the strongest legislation in the U.S., he says, to keep pseudoephedrine out of the hands of methamphetamine manufacturers. But though Nebraska’s lawmakers passed a similar measure, it’s not set to go into effect until September third. Heavican says the three-month gap could encourage meth producers to cross state lines in search of the key ingredient.He says drugmakers will try to get around the possession limits in both states, by crossing the river and buying cold pills on both sides. Or, he says they’ll steal it. On Thursday, a U.S. Attorney from Iowa joined Nebraska’s federal prosecutor in Omaha to pledge they’ll work together. They want to make sure everybody knows there’ll be united front, and they’ll investigate and prosecute anybody crossing the river to try and get pseudoephedrine for making meth. Heavican says people convicted on the federal charges are more likely to get jail time and to get a longer sentence.He figures they might file charges of attempting to manufacture a drug, or possessing pseudoephedrine with intent to manufacture. There are laws about specific “precursor” substances used to make the illegal drug. Heavican stresses the U.S. Attorneys have no intent to trump the powers of state lawmen.At last night’s press conference in Omaha there were local lawmen and officials, people from the Nebraska Attorney General’s office to help give the picture. He says “The state prosecutors are going to get some of these cases, and they are determined to prosecute them just as vigorously.” Heavican says in the past year and-a-half the Omaha Metro Drug Task Force has arrested 77 people for “intent to manufacture” methamphetamine. 43 of those were from out of Nebraska — 35 from Iowa.
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