The Drug Enforcement Administration’s latest data show it is averaging about 27,000 arrests each year, and agents said that number is growing.
David King, DEA resident agent in charge for the Tulsa area, said cities like Tulsa and Oklahoma City are mid-points for drug trafficking.
“We've got marijuana, we've got Methamphetamine, heroine, prescription narcotics, counterfeit Fentanyl that we're seeing an uptick within Oklahoma that's leading to overdose deaths," explained King.
King said during the pandemic, illegal activity and addiction are on the rise and that Oklahoma is dealing with all kinds of dangers.
"So yesterday, the Tulsa Police Department was assisting DEA in the service of a narcotics search warrant,” said King. “I can tell you that there was an exchange of gunfire."
Sources told News On 6 a ballistic shield likely saved an officer's life during that encounter.
"Ballistic helmets and vests are something that is required within my task force to be worn on all service operations,” said King. “That inherently provides some level of protection, but it doesn't protect us from everything."
King said the local task force has seven agencies fighting against a growing number of drug addictions and trafficking.
The latest data show the DEA had 26,645 domestic arrests in 2018 and 27,819 in 2019. King said he expects the numbers for 2020 to be even higher.
"Drugs and guns have always comingled, but it seems in the last couple of years that these drug trafficking organizations are using their drug proceeds to purchase more weapons," said King.
King added that the DEA and its partners have a dangerous job and that constant training is key.
The DEA said the public can help in the ongoing fight against illegal drugs by reporting any activity to law enforcement, and you never have to give your name.