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.

2014 Annual Report

For the calendar year 2014, 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 2014 we had 13 referrals to DHS.

Methamphetamine (meth) continues to be the drug of choice in the area. The Vice/Narcotics Unit seized 21504.0 grams of meth and 2 meth labs were investigated, which is up from the previous year when we had no labs. Much of the meth in our area is still coming from Mexico. We also observed a significant decrease in the amount of cocaine seized this year at 73.5 grams. The Vice/Narcotics Unit also seized 200.5 pounds of marijuana, 117 marijuana plants, 7.5 grams of hashish, and 18.2 grams of psilocybin mushrooms. There were a total of 3411 assorted pharmaceuticals seized (see attached chart for breakdown). The total amount of currency seized was $1,106,126.06, with $53,068.95 being the net amount forfeited by the courts and returned to the Task Force. Of these statistics approximately 63.0 pounds of marijuana and $793,129 in currency seized from 26 interdiction stops over the course of the year are included.

The Vice/Narcotics Unit worked a total of 221 narcotics cases in 2014, which resulted in 165 arrests with 315 charges. In addition to these numbers, 22 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 16 subjects indicted on federal charges this year.

In the course of these investigations, over $2,023,852 worth of drugs were removed from the streets. Exact street prices for some of the pharmaceuticals are unavailable; therefore those drugs are approximated in the following price breakdown list, and 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.

Drug AmountWeightAmount
Methamphetamine47.4 pounds$1,090,200.00
Cocaine73.5 grams$13,230.00
Marijuana200.5 Pounds$802,000.00
Marijuan Plants117 Plants$117,000.00
Hashish7.5 grams$112.00
Pharmaceuticals3411 milligrams$1,310.00
Total $2,023,852.00

The Vice/Narcotics Unit served 51 search warrants and conducted 19 consent searches. As a result of these investigations, 21 firearms were seized. The unit also conducted 47 controlled buys and 5 buy/busts.

In addition to the narcotics investigations, the Task Force, in conjunction with the FBI, conducted three prostitution stings in 2014. These joint stings were interstate prostitution operations which resulted in 18 arrests with numerous charges including drug possession and prostitution.

The Task Force conducted one alcohol compliance check which included 10 different businesses in the Council Bluffs area. Of the 10 businesses 3 citations were issued for providing alcohol to minors.

In 2014 the Task Force processed 143 liquor license renewals and 20 new liquor license applications.

For a complete breakdown of the 2014 statistics along with last years stats, see the attached chart.

2013/2014 Comparison

 20132014
Narcotics Cases Investigated272221
Individuals arrested for Manufacturing, Delivery or Poss. w/Intent to Deliver144133
Charges for Manufacturing, Delivery or Poss. w/Intent to Deliver253244
Total People Arrested152165
Total Charges Filed314315
Referrals to Department of Revenue1922
Referrals for Federal Prosecution1716
Methamphetamine Labs02
Criminal Cases Investigated711
Search Warrants Executed4751
Consent Searches1819
Controlled Buys4847
Currency Seized (gross amount)$462,844.00 $1,106,126.06
Federal Asset Sharing$65,010.40 $23,655.80
Drug Hotline and Crimestoppers Reports Received11086
Methamphetamine Seized/Purchased2.0 lbs47.4 lbs
Cocaine Seized/Purchased360.5 grams73.5 grams
Marijuana Seized/Purchased521.0 lbs200.5 lbs
Marijuana Plants Seized/Purchased277117
Pharmaceuticals Purchased6113411
Hashish Seized/Purchased957.0 grams7.5 grams
Crack Cocaine/Seized Purchased155.55 grams0
Dimethyltryptamine Seized/Purchased00
K-2 Seized/Purchased8.3 grams0
Psilocybin Mushrooms Seized/Purchased018.2 grams
Bath Salts00

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 2015 Southwest Iowa Narcotics Task Force, All rights reserved.