Clayton Co. seeing meth on the rise, raising money for new K9 - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Clayton Co. seeing meth on the rise, raising money for new K9 officer

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CLAYTON COUNTY (KWWL) -

The Clayton County sheriff's office is raising funds for a new K9 officer, as the department looks to retire its current dog.

Officials there say a new K9 is not a want, it's a must, especially in the fight against a growing meth problem.

Clayton County is one of Iowa's largest geographic counties, so the sheriff's office has a lot of ground to cover. It's why an extra pair of eyes, ears, teeth and two pairs of legs come in handy.

Matt Moser is K9 handler for the Clayton County sheriff's office, meaning he gets to work with nine-year-old Bear, who's retiring soon.

Bear detects drugs at traffic stops.

"When I do find methamphetamine, you usually find marijuana inside the vehicle also, or inside the house," Moser said. "A lot of marijuana and, here in Clayton County, a lot of methamphetamine."

Like many places throughout eastern Iowa, Clayton County has seen a growing meth problem, especially in the last few years.

"In 2013, we've had about anywhere from 20 to 30 drug cases that are felony-level cases we've been working," Clayton County sheriff's narcotics investigator Mark Kautman said. "All but one of them have been methamphetamine-related."

Monona police chief Jane Scott-Quandahl said it's a drug that's devastating communities. In the Monona area, she said, her department has made about a dozen meth-related arrests in 2013.

Monona is a town of about 1,500 people.

"We're losing generations of professional people," Scott-Quandahl said. "We're losing doctors, we're losing people that may cure cancer because they're choosing meth and they can't get off meth. It's just an evil, evil addiction."

She said Troy Laufenberg has suspected ties to the meth community. He's the Monona man believed to have severely injured his girlfriend's daughter, 18-month-old Myah Larson, in mid-July.

In the apartment Laufenberg shared with his girlfriend, Myah and a younger child the couple had together, officials found what they believe is meth, leading to drug charges for Laufenberg and a charge of child endangerment. Lab results on the substance are pending.

"It's a wicked drug," Scott-Quandahl said.

Between local police, drug investigators and the K9 officer, Clayton County officials are helping combat eastern Iowa's meth problem.

The sheriff's office asks anyone who sees, hears or even smells anything suspicious to give them a call. As always, tips can remain anonymous. The tip line number is 563-245-1234.

The Clayton County officials need about $4,000 more for a new K9. They want to raise $11,000 and are currently right around $7,000, Moser said.

They're accepting donations and holding a hog roast fundraiser Sunday, Aug. 18 at the county law enforcement center near Elkader.

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