Although new kinds of synthetic drugs are showing up in Iowa more and the abuse of prescription drugs is a growing concern, the main focus of the 20-year-old Tri County Drug Enforcement Task Force is still the unending demand for meth.
Authorities created the Tri-County Drug Task in 1991. It's still a multi-jurisdictional unit, based at the Waterloo Police Department. The officers come from the Waterloo and Cedar Falls Police Departments as well as the Black Hawk and Bremer County Sheriff's Departments. The Task Force actually covers just Black Hawk and Bremer Counties, conducting drug investigations far and wide. On Occasion, the local officers get help from the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement (DNE), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
"My life has been in danger,"one of the Tri-County undercover officers said. "There are moments that you get that feeling in your belly and you get the hair standing up on the back of your neck."
Waterloo's Director of Safety Services Dan Trelka says, "We want them to fear getting caught. If that can have an impact on one out of a hundred of these criminals not to engage in criminal behavior, then we're showing success."
Officers of the Tri-County Drug Task Force like to operate under the radar, so to speak. But, one of their biggest cases in recent years became a very high profile one, because it involved well-know Waterloo, Dr. Mark Louviere. Officers found out that Dr. Louviere was hiding a million dollars worth of meth in a couple of Waterloo homes. He pleaded guilty and is serving a 100-year prison term.
There are concerns that federal money for drug task force operations may be going away.
"The money is getting tight and some task forces are dwindling or being eliminated all together," Safety Director Trelka said.
Monday, September 1 2014 5:41 PM EDT2014-09-01 21:41:17 GMT
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