Beginning Friday, continuing into the early morning hours of Saturday, Clay County Sheriff's deputies, in a joint effort with the Buena Vista County Sheriff's deputies and Storm Lake Police Department officers, executed search warrants and made multiple arrests, directly associated with an on-going investigation into the alleged manufacture of methamphetamine, which occurred in both counties.
Clay County Sheriff Randy Krukow suggested the ongoing investigation is expected to generate additional arrests and charges.
Arrested as a result of evidence collected from the warrants: David Specketer, 44, of rural Alta; Ruby Cowen, 51, of Storm Lake; Heather Hyde, 29, of Peterson; Jesse Ingersen, 31, of Linn Grove; Tom Henderson, 49, of Storm Lake; and Tommy Lynn Hartfield 40, of Peterson.
Meth cases have been rare locally in recent years.
"I would not say that these arrests signal any kind of trend that meth is making a comeback. It's more a matter of ebb and flow; what we have here is a pocket that has come up," Buena Vista County Sheriff's Major Doug Simons said. "You run into it once in a while, you deal with it and you move on."
Not only does the use of the drug take a horrifying physical toll on its addicts, the chemical production of meth is extremely dangerous, Simons said. "You are talking about substances that are very toxic that can easily do permanent damage to a person. When a lab or remnants of a lab are found, extreme care must be taken to safely dispose of it."
As part of the joint investigation, search warrants were obtained for Specketer's vehicle, his residence at 6227 20th Ave. in Alta, and 621A W. Ninth St. in Storm Lake.
The five search warrants were carried out during the late evening hours Friday and early morning hours Saturday.
Results of the searches include:
- Methamphetamine precursors and three firearms at Specketer's Alta address, 6227 20th Ave. As a convicted felon, Specketer is not allowed to possess a firearm legally.
- At 410 Broadway in Linn Grove, methamphetamine, marijuana, drug paraphernalia and methamphetamine precursors were discovered.
- The Storm Lake address, at 621A W. Ninth St., yielded drug paraphernalia and methamphetamine precursors.
- Also in Storm Lake, at 917 Erie St., deputies located and seized a partial methamphetamine lab, precursors, and a small amount of marijuana.
- The Specketer vehicle, which had been occupied by Specketer and Cowen, was found to have methamphetamine precursors, a partial methamphetamine lab and methamphetamine.
During the investigation, additional information was discovered indicating persons residing at 105 Pine St. in Peterson were also allegedly involved in the manufacture of methamphetamine.
Clay County Sheriff's deputies obtained a sixth search warrant for the residence. The Clay County team, joined by deputies and officers from the Buena Vista, Storm Lake and Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, executed the warrant early Saturday morning.
Marijuana, drug paraphernalia, remnants of a meth lab and precursors for manufacturing meth were all discovered.
Hyde, 29, of Peterson, was caring for two minor children in the home at the time of search warrant.
Both children were removed from Hyde's care and the Iowa Department of Human Services were notified.
Charges against Specketer include felony conspiracy to manufacture more than five grams of methamphetatmine; felony possession of a firearm as a felon; and felony possession of precursors. Specketer is being held on $110,000 bond in Buena Vista County Jail.
Cowen was charged with felony possessions of precursors. She is being held on $5,000 bond in the Buena Vista County Jail.
Ingersen, 31, of Linn Grove, is being held on $102,000 bond in Buena Vista County Jail, and is charged with felony conspiracy to manufacture of more than five grams of meth, felony possession of precursors, possession of meth, and possession of marijuana.
Henderson, 49, of Storm Lake, is also in Buena Vista County Jail on a $106,000 bond, where he is charged with felony conspiracy to manufacture of more than five grams of meth, felony possession of precursors, and possession of marijuana.
Hyde and Hartfield are being held in Clay County Jail. Both are charged with two counts of child endangerment, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. Each is being held on a $2,000 bond.
Assisting in the process were members of the Storm Lake Fire Department, Storm Lake Public Safety Lab Response Team, the Storm Lake Police K-9 unit, Iowa Department of Human Services and Buena Vista County Attorney's office.