Missing Man Investigation Leads to Possible Meth Lab

By Mark Carlson and Lee Hermiston, KCRG-TV9 & The Gazette

SWISHER, Iowa — A search for missing Marion man led police to a possible meth lab, but not the man himself.

According to the Marion Police Department, investigators learned about a possible meth lab in Swisher while investigating the disappearance of 51-year-old James Booher. A search warrant was obtained for the residence at 1576 120th St. NW outside of Swisher, in rural Johnson County.

On Tuesday morning, Marion police, the Linn County Sheriff’s Office and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation assisted the Johnson County Drug Task Force and Iowa State Patrol’s Tactical Team in executing the warrant.

Authorities did not say what was discovered at the residence but noted that charges are pending. Those charges will come from the drug task force’s investigation.

Marion police Lt. Scott Elam said information about the meth lab came up during their investigation into Booher’s appearance, though police didn’t necessarily believe he was at the residence.

“We didn’t have that specific of information,” Elam said. “It was something we looked into. We didn’t find anything related to that investigation there.”

Elam said sometimes when police are investigating one case, information about another possible crime comes up. This was one of those cases, he said.

“It was just kind of one of those things,” he said. “Sometimes during an investigation, you learn other stuff. It came to light as part of our investigation.

“I don’t know that anything was relevant” to the missing person investigation.

Booher was last seen early on May 31 in Cedar Rapids. An Operation Quickfind was issued on June 3, and his vehicle was found abandoned in Cedar Rapids on June 9.

Police have said Booher’s disappearance is suspicious and involuntary.

Anyone with information on Booher’s disappearance is asked to call the Marion Police Department’s Investigations Division at (319) 200-7713 or Linn County Crime Stoppers at 800-CS-CRIME.

Johnson County Sheriff’s deputies remained at the house past 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Neighbors say the raid created such a scene it practically shut down the busy road.

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