Dubuque Drug Task Force receives $1.7 million - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque Drug Task Force receives $1.7 million

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) - More than $1.7 million has been awarded to law enforcement agencies in Dubuque County. It's the largest amount of asset forfeiture the county has ever received.

It's been six years since a search warrant was served at a Dubuque pharmacy. Suspicious prescriptions led to an investigation that has become the largest internet drug case in the nation; uncovering two internet companies selling illegal prescription drugs.

The check represents six years of hard work by the Dubuque Drug Task Force.

"We would not have initiated this federal investigation without the Dubuque Drug Task Force. They came and stumbled upon the evidence," said Matt Dummermuth.

In 2003 a search warrant at Union Family Pharmacy uncovered 1.1 million unlawful prescriptions for pain, diet and psychiatric pills. Further investigation uncovered two internet companies - Pharmacom and Medical Web Services. Both companies recruited physicians to sign for drugs - without knowledge of the patients needs.

"Major national investigation. The largest number of defendants ever prosecuted in the nation for an illegal internet pharmacy scheme," said Dummermuth.

The $1.7 million check award to Dubuque law enforcement is from a pool of $7 million seized in assets from the internet case.

"As this investigation shows, something that can start, can take years and years to come to fortune but we stay as it. We kept at it," said acting Police Chief Terry Tobin.

"I think the big picture is it shows what a great relationship that not only the dubuque police department and the sheriff's department have had over the years, but a great relationship we have with the us attorney's office and all the other federal agencies we've worked with," said Sheriff Ken Runde.

And the collaborative effort, that started in Dubuque, has now come full circle.

"Essentially we're taking the money from those who engaged in crinimal behavior and putting it back into the local law enforcement efforts," said Dummermuth.

It's important to note that no Iowa doctors were involved in the case and Union Pharmacy has a new owner. Another note: most of the evidence - which could fill more than 150 semi-trucks - was in Cedar Rapids during the floods. It was all recovered safely.

Sheriff Runde and Acting Police Chief Tobin both tell me they plan to use the money to hire more personnel.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires
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