November 27, 2014

Massive effort leads to 53 arrests for drugs/human trafficking

A massive operation has resulted in 53 people being arrested in the state on drug and human trafficking charges. Sergeant Richard Blaylock of the Polk County Sheriff’s office says the Mid-Iowa Narcotics Enforcement (MINE) Task Force worked with the FBI that culminated with the arrests on the 17th and 18th of this month.

Blaylock says the drug and human trafficking activity go hand-in-hand. “Human trafficking is basically rescuing younger people who are used in the sex trade. A lot of these people use drugs to manipulate and basically sell their bodies,”Blaylock says.

There could be more arrests, and Blaylock does not yet want to reveal all the details of the operation. “Without getting into the nuts and bolts of it, the MINE Task Force, the FBI, they worked for months setting up what they call a sting operation,” Blaylock says.

“And basically because everything is still under investigation, we can’t get into the nuts-and-bolts of it.” One thing Blaylock can say is that over 25 law agencies worked together on the project.

“That’s what’s nice, is seeing all these different agencies — local, state and federal — get together and have a successful operation like this. It just shows that everybody has the same goal in mind, and they achieved that by what they did.” Blaylock says the 53 people arrested were a mix of in and out-of-state residents.

The following agencies participated: Altoona Police, Anamosa Police, Ankeny Police, Clive Police, Des Moines Police, Dyersville Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security, Indianola Police, Iowa Department of Public Safety’s Division of Criminal Investigation, Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, Iowa State Office of Drug Control Policy, Jasper County Sheriff’s Office, Johnston Police, Knoxville Police, Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Muscatine County Sheriff’s Office, Newton Police, Omaha Police, Pella Police, Polk County Attorney’s Office, Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Poweshiek County Sheriff’s Office, Urbandale Police, Warren County Sheriff’ Office, West Des Moines Police, Windsor Heights Police.