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Drug Enforcement Administration creates new Midwest office

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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is establishing a new field division based in Omaha that will include Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.

In a news conference Thursday in Omaha, DEA Acting Administrator Robert Patterson said the new division will open in July. It is the agency's 23rd division office in the United States.

Patterson says the move was prompted in part by the nation's growing opioid crisis. In April, authorities seized a record 118 pounds of the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl during a traffic stop.

The Omaha division will be led by Matthew Barden, who previously served as the Associate Special Agent in Charge of the St. Louis Division.

Barden says the new division will "produce more effective investigations on methamphetamine, heroin, fentanyl and prescription opioid trafficking."

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