Drug task force: Illegal drugs available anywhere - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Drug task force: Illegal drugs available anywhere

DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- A meth lab bust Wednesday afternoon has drugs on the mind of people in Dubuque. In the last two and a half years, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency has recorded 12 busts in Dubuque.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Dubuque Drug Task Force busted a meth lab at 911 Garfield. Officers said there was not an active lab, but components in the house indicated that meth had been manufactured. The homeowner, 35 year old Christine Ginter is charged with manufacturing methamphetamine and could get up to ten years in prison. The address has been recorded two other times on the DEA's list of drug lab busts since 2006.

Narcotics officers say they can find every type of drug, marijuana, crack, even heroine, in virtually every part of Dubuque.

"We have set up arrangements to do undercover purchases just about everywhere in Dubuque. If somebody has them and are willing to sell them, they will bring them anywhere," Dubuque Drug Task Force director Sergeant Dale Snyder said.

"It's hard for people to believe this is happening in their town. They may have grown up in a nicer area of the city and they're not aware this stuff is going on," Snyder said.

Snyder says they haven't seen an increase or a decrease in the overall amount of drugs available in Dubuque, but they say there has been a shift in the prevalence of specific drugs. Marijuana remains the number one drug, but second in line is now crack cocaine. It used to be meth. Snyder says psuedoephedrine laws have contributed to the decrease in methamphedamine.

The Substance Abuse Services Center executive director says the number of clients, about 2 thousand families a year, has remained steady for decades. The majority of clients report alcohol as their number one drug of choice. Marijuana is the number one illegal substance. Clients include voluntary and referred people.

"I think there's a drug problem in America, not just Dubuque. I think that drug use is very acceptable. I think people like to experiment with drugs. I think that young people use what their parents do. They use what adults use. And I don't know that that problem will ever go away," Executive director Diane Thomas said.

Here is a breakdown of the amount of drugs the U.S. DEA seized in Iowa in 2007. Almost 260 kilograms of marijuana, 25 kilograms of cocaine, and five kilograms of methamphetamine have been recovered. The DEA, as well as state and local police, made almost 140 meth lab busts just last year.

Online Reporter:  Jamie Grey

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