Drug Task Force still quietly taking down dealers - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Drug Task Force still quietly taking down dealers

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

The world of illegal drugs is a perilous one.  A world of greed, violence and addiction, driven by supply and demand. Officers of Tri-County Drug Enforcement Task Force recently granted rare access to watch them at work. A chance to see, first hand, the crucial and dangerous work these dedicated officers do on a daily basis, in an effort to keep you safe from drug criminals.

For some 20-years now and with very little recognition, the Drug Task Force, which operates mainly in Black Hawk and Bremer Counties, has been methodically taking down illegal drug networks.

"I do think we're making a difference," an 8-year member of the Tri-County Drug Task Force said. "I mean, everything we look for is going toward the source of supply."

"I went into the job of being a police officer because of what I thought the drugs were doing to the community."

Created in 1991, The Tri-County Drug Task Force consists mainly of officers from the Waterloo and Cedar Falls Police Departments, and the Black Hawk and Bremer County Sheriff's Departments, the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, with occasional help from the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). In 2010, the Drug Task averaged more than two arrests every week, adding up to 119 a year. They seized illegal drugs worth more than $2,243,133.00.

"There's a nexus between violence, crime and drugs." Waterloo Police Director of Safety Dan Trelka said.

He says that means danger and unpredictability.

"And a good example of how drugs & violence are tied together is what's going on in Mexico right now…As we all know, seeing the news every day, it's pretty brutal, pretty violent."

Products from the Mexican drug cartels are still showing up in Iowa.

"The greatest supply, as far as cocaine and methamphetamine is directly related to Mexico," the undercover officer said.

With billions of drug dollars up for grabs every year, the drug cartels fight each other for control of potential U.S. drug transportation routes. Cocaine, meth and marijuana are first transported from numerous Mexican cities into Texas, Arizona and California. Then driven to hundreds of destinations around the country, including Eastern Iowa.

"It's cartel-related drugs. We've investigated several cases in the time that I've been here, where, ultimately, it's linked back, going directly back and the source of supply being from Mexico," the undercover agent said.

Online Reporter:  Ron Steele

rsteele@kwwl.com

 

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