Black Hawk County Investigators See Increase in Meth Ice
By Jill Kasparie, Reporter
WATERLOO, Iowa – Investigators in Black Hawk County with the Tri-County Drug Enforcement Task Force have their hands full with a surge of crystal meth or “ice.”
The agency said last year it seized less than a pound, or about 2.8 ounces. That's worth about $12,000 on the street. This year, investigators have seized 25 pounds. That's worth about $1.7 million dollars.
Investigators said ice is a pure form of meth that's typically manufactured in what they call “super labs” outside of the Midwest.
October, in particular, has been a busy month for the Task Force, which covers both Black Hawk and Bremer Counties.
Earlier this month law officers arrested seven people on meth related charges. They range in age from 21 to 70. Four of them are from Iowa, while three others are from California, Nevada and Mexico.
Lt Corbin Payne works with the Waterloo Police Department and is assigned to the Tri-county Drug Enforcement Task Force. He said he believes the new meth activity is all part of a bigger drug ring out of southern portions of the U.S.
"This is for transportation, possession with intent to deliver. This is a very uncommon amount we've seen here in the Cedar Valley area,” Lt. Payne said as he pointed to a pound of meth ice that was recently seized during an investigation.
The agency said there's more demand for the purified meth as other forms are phased out.
"We are seeing a lot of decrease in our, I'd say our mom and pop, one-pot methods of our meth labs, the big meth labs we used to have here,” Lt. Payne said.
The Director of Pathways in Waterloo said for the past ten years, meth has been one of the top three drugs abused by clients. The organization provides services to help people overcome their addictions.
"The effects of methamphetamine on individuals are fairly comprehensive and very quickly debilitating,” said Pathways Executive Director Chris Hoffman.
One woman, who asked to keep her identity hidden, knows the power of meth. She used it in all different forms.
"Pretty much any kind, shake and bake, ice.”
Now that she's getting help, she doesn't want more people to fall victim.
"I would never want my son to have the addiction that I have or anyone’s children. I so much wish for a drug-free community that my son could grow up in."
Keeping meth ice out of the community is exactly what investigators are working on.
"Hopefully this is a warning sign or a down trend that we are enforcing this,” Lt. Payne said.
The task force said it's working several cases and leads to continue to stop the sale and transportation of crystal meth in Black Hawk and Bremer counties. Agents also said Eastern Iowa wasn't alone in seeing the ice increase, it's happening all across the Midwest.
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