Since 2004, the Vice/Narcotics Unit of the Council Bluffs Police Department was involved in a continuing drug task force covering Pottawattamie, Mills and Harrison Counties. This Task Force consists of members of the Council Bluffs Police Department, the Pottawattamie County Sheriff's Department, the Mills County Sheriff's Department, the Glenwood Police Department, the Harrison County Sheriff's Department, and the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement. The Task Force was busy with a wide variety of investigations in 2004, with most of them being narcotics cases. A number of these were joint investigations with other agencies such as the Omaha Police Division, the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The Task Force is still working with one less investigator than in previous years.

2013 Annual Report

For the calendar year 2013, the Vice/Narcotics Unit of the Council Bluffs Police Department, aka the Southwest Iowa Narcotics Enforcement Task Force, continued to be the main narcotics investigative unit in Southwest Iowa. The Vice/Narcotics Unit consists of members of the Council Bluffs Police Department, the Pottawattamie County Sheriff's Department, the Mills County Sheriff's Department, the Glenwood Police Department, the Harrison County Sheriff's Department, the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, and an Iowa National Guard analyst. The Vice/Narcotics Unit also works closely with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Omaha Police Department, Iowa's Department of Human Services, and any agency in Southwest Iowa that requests assistance.

The Vice/Narcotics Unit continues to receive limited funding from a state grant. We currently receive grant reimbursement to cover 75% of wages for two Task Force investigators; one Mills County deputy and one Council Bluffs Police officer.

The Task Force continued working closely with Iowa DHS this year with the Drug Endangered Children program. This program places special emphasis on the welfare of any child that is found during an investigation where children and narcotics are present. During 2013 we had 10 referrals to DHS.

Methamphetamine (meth) continues to be the drug of choice in the area, although due to several large seizures, the amount of meth seized was actually lower than the amount of marijuana seized. The Vice/Narcotics Unit seized 1345.35 grams of meth and zero meth labs were investigated, which is down from the previous year when we had one lab. Much of the meth in our area is still coming from Mexico. We also observed a very significant increase in the amount of cocaine seized this year at 360.5 grams, along with an increase in crack cocaine in the amount of 155.55 grams. The Vice/Narcotics Unit also seized 529 pounds of marijuana, 277 marijuana plants, 45.0 grams of marijuana oil, 476.0 grams of marijuana candy, 957.0 grams of hashish, and 8.3 grams of K-2. There were a total of 611 assorted pharmaceuticals seized. Of the pharmaceuticals seized 10835.0 milligrams were hydrocodone, which is a significant increase over the previous year.

The Vice/Narcotics Unit worked a total of 272 narcotics cases in 2013, which resulted in 152 arrests with 314 charges. In addition to these numbers, 19 subjects were referred to the Department of Revenue. Task Force officers continue to testify in federal court in Council Bluffs, Iowa instead of traveling to Des Moines, Iowa. There were 17 subjects indicted on federal charges this year.

In the course of these investigations, over $2,500,657 worth of drugs were removed from the streets. Street prices for some of the pharmaceuticals and K-2 are unavailable; therefore those drugs are not noted in the following price breakdown list, or in the aforementioned total.

The following is the value breakdown of the top drugs seized or purchased, based on the latest price list received from the Iowa Counterdrug Task Force.

DrugWeightAmount
Methamphetamine2.0 pounds $45,600
Cocaine-360.5 grams $10,094
Marijuana529.9 pounds $2,119,440
Marijuana plants277 plants $277,000
Crack Cocaine155.6 grams $23,333
Hashish957.0 grams $14,355
Hydrocodone10835.0 grams $10,835
   $2,500,650

The Vice/Narcotics Unit served 47 search warrants and conducted 18 consent searches. As a result of these investigations, 34 firearms were seized. The total amount of currency seized was $462,844, with $36,072.40 being the net amount forfeited by the courts and returned to the Task Force. The Unit also conducted 48 controlled buys and four buy/busts.

In addition to the narcotics investigations, the Task Force, in conjunction with the FBI, conducted two prostitution stings in 2013. These joint stings were interstate prostitution operations which resulted in 14 arrests with numerous charges including drug possession and prostitution.

In 2013 the Task Force processed 140 liquor license renewals and 22 new liquor license applications.

For a complete breakdown of the 2013 statistics along with last years stats, see the attached chart.

2012/2013 Comparison

 20122013
Narcotics Cases Investigated219272
Individuals arrested for Manufacturing, Delivery or Poss. w/Intent to Deliver122144
Charges for Manufacturing, Delivery or Poss. w/Intent to Deliver228253
Total People Arrested149152
Total Charges Filed311314
Referrals to Department of Revenue3919
Referrals for Federal Prosecution1117
Methamphetamine Labs10
Criminal Cases Investigated127
Search Warrants Executed4247
Consent Searches818
Controlled Buys5248
Currency Seized (gross amount)$216,303 $462,844
Federal Asset Sharing$43,848.49 $65,010.40
Drug Hotline and Crimestoppers Reports Received114110
Methamphetamine Seized/Purchased1.0 lb2.0 lbs
Cocaine Seized/Purchased29.0 grams360.5 grams
Marijuana Seized/Purchased851.0 lbs521.0 lbs
Marijuana Plants Seized/Purchased115277
Pharmaceuticals Purchased113611
Hashish Seized/Purchased454.0 grams957.0 grams
Crack Cocaine/Seized Purchased6.7 grams155.55 grams
Dimethyltryptamine Seized/Purchased228.8 grams0
K-2 Seized/Purchased12.3 grams8.3 grams
Psilocybin Mushrooms Seized/Purchased25.5 lbs0
Bath Salts0.05 grams0

Future

As the Task Force continues to work with less manpower and continued budget cuts, the forecast for this Task Force is that of elimination. This community would most definitely suffer if this should happen. Overall crime would undoubtedly increase because drug abusers will do anything to get money for their next fix. Numerous suspects arrested for forgery, burglary, and theft state the principle reason for their behavior is a methamphetamine habit. We all know the link between drugs and other criminal behavior, but we cannot fully determine the extent to which the quality of life in the community would be diminished by this drug related criminal behavior. We experienced this violent behavior first hand in Glenwood, Iowa while conducting a search warrant. Officers of this Unit still experience the aftermath that an officer involved shooting has. Another incident occurred here in Council Bluffs as this Unit again was serving a search warrant when officers were shot at. No one was injured and the suspect was taken into custody. These are just examples of the violent behavior that this Unit experienced within the last year as we work short handed and with less money. We are the only drug task force in southwest Iowa and are constantly being asked to assist other agencies in areas outside the Task Force counties. In the spirit of cooperation and coordination, this Task Force is always there to help. With little to no funding for undercover drug purchases and confidential informant payments, the effectiveness of drug enforcement would be severely limited. I would hate to see the fight to eliminate illegal drugs from our Task Force area stymied by the lack of funds.

Copyright 2014 Southwest Iowa Narcotics Task Force, All rights reserved.