MUSCATINE, Iowa — In 2012, the Muscatine County Drug Task Force seized just under nine pounds of methamphetamine.
The Muscatine County Sheriff’s Office recently released its 2012 report of crime statistics and highlights of activities performed by the law enforcement agency.
But, as Chief Deputy C.J. Ryan pointed out, a majority of that was because of an investigation by the Muscatine County Drug Task Force. The investigation, which was conducted by Detective Mike Channon and took over two months to complete, resulted in seven defendants being charged in state and federal court, seven searches executed and the seizure of two firearms, $12,000 in cash, over eight pounds of methamphetamine, seven and a half ounces of marijuana, 13 marijuana plants and a small amount of cocaine.
The report states that “this is the most significant case the [Muscatine County Joint] Task Force worked in 2012.”
“That was the reason for the spike,” Ryan said.
Compared to 2011, the Task Force executed 123 more search warrants in 2012, 32 to 155. Seizures in drugs saw both drastic decreases and slight increases. Only 160.5 grams of cocaine were seized in 2012 compared to 4,589 grams in 2011. Marijuana seizures in 2012 saw a slight increase from 2011, up to 18,168 grams from 14,795.
“This is an informant-driven business,” Ryan said. “So these numbers do fluctuate. Sometimes you can say it’s following a trend and that may or may not be true, but the numbers could also be attributed to the work of the members of the Task Force.”
Ryan said the task force is comprised of two sheriff’s deputies, two members of the Muscatine Police Department and a member of the Iowa Division of Narcotics. Ryan said the Task Force works a lot of cases and “some might be insignificant but they were able to impact more people” in 2012.
Other highlights from the report:
- Criminal investigations were up slightly to 125 from 100 in 2011, with many crimes investigated on par with 2011’s numbers. Ryan said the office doesn’t expect the number to “wildly fluctuate one year to the next.” Ryan explained that since the economy has stabilized a bit, economy driven crimes likes burglary or gas-drive-offs have not risen to extreme numbers. “We’ve only got two detectives and they’re always busy,” Ryan said.
- The report dedicated two pages to scams the Sheriff’s Office were tipped off about in 2012. Ways to prevent becoming a victim of a scam include don’t provide personal information when unnecessary, always secure your smart phone and lock down social media profiles. Ryan said websites like Facebook or Twitter are “fishing sites” for scammers because of personal information readily available.
- In 2012, the Sheriff’s Office received a total of $45,250 from the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau grant. The money went toward overtime for traffic enforcement, five in-car video systems, education materials and a portable breath test. Ryan said this grant program is very important to the Sheriff’s Office. “The increased traffic enforcement around the holidays might not be possible without the help of the grant.”
- Although no officers received distinguished awards, five were recognized for their years of service, among other honors: Corporal Brian Utter for four years and good conduct; Sgt. Mike Bailey for 12 years and good conduct; Deputy Craig Burmeister for 24 years and good conduct; Lt. Mark Kopf for 16 years and good conduct; Capt. Dave Lerch for 24 and good conduct.
- This was the second year in a row the report was dedicated to a former sheriff. On Oct. 16, 2012, Lowell Snyder, sheriff from 1996-2000 and a member of the Sheriff’s Office for nearly 30 years, died. In 2011, the report was dedicated to former Sheriff Greg Orr. The former sheriff passed away in 2011. Orr was sheriff from 2001-08.
The complete report can be found at http://www.muscatinecountysheriff.com/index.html.