ST. LOUIS – There is a serious drug problem in the St. Louis metropolitan area. Todd Zimmerman, new special agent in charge of the DEA St. Louis Division, says he is up for the fight.
Zimmerman says reducing drug-related crime demands the most attention.
“We have drug trafficking organizations in St. Louis and throughout Missouri who are employing violence and intimidation to make money,” he said.
The City of St. Louis is coming off a record year of homicides per capita with 262 killed. Zimmerman believes the high level of violence is exacerbated by the drug situation.
“The drug trade and gangs and violence. It’s all producing crime,” he said. “They are protecting their product, operations, their street corner, or themselves and their money.”
Last weekend, nationally-known relationship therapist and TV host Dr. Laura Berhman suffered a major tragedy. Her son died of an overdose after getting a pill on social media. It’s a problem Zimmerman says is happening everywhere.
“He got on Snapchat and ordered a Xanax pill,” he said. “He ingested it and passed away from an overdose because it had fentanyl in it.”
Zimmerman says Mexican cartels are pumping methamphetamine and fentanyl into the country, Missouri, and specifically St. Louis.
While Missouri has its work cut out, Zimmerman is confident they can continue to make strides.
“Law enforcement, diversion control, and community outreach are in place and proving to be valuable in the war on drugs in Missouri,” he said.