September 21, 2014

Large amount of possible drugs found at Rockwell City prison

The discovery of a large of amount of possible drugs at the North Central Correctional Facility in Rockwell City is under investigation. Alex Murphy, spokesperson for the Iowa Department of Public Safety, says 300 to 400 “unknown capsules” were found in the prison earlier this month.

 “It was discovered by the warden and his staff at the correctional facility during their routine checks,” Murphy said. The capsules have been sent to the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation’s laboratory in Ankeny for analysis.

“If they were to be illegal drugs, we would turn our findings over to the county attorney’s office and they would decide how they want to pursue this case,” Murphy said. Details about exactly where and when the possible drugs were discovered are not being released.

More information about the case may come for several weeks.  It could take anywhere from two to six weeks for the crime lab to complete their testing on the capsules, according to Murphy. The minimum security facility in Calhoun County houses around 490 inmates who are classified as “low risk” offenders.

Iowa City man given 5 years on drug distribution charge

A former Iowa City man is going to prison for selling drugs to a person who later died. A federal judge has sentenced 24-year-old Kyle Messerle to five years in prison for distributing heroin.

Court documents show Messerle was at a party in Iowa City in November 2012 when he provided heroin to two individuals, who both used the drug that night. One of the individuals was found dead the next day and a medical examiner ruled the death was the result of “mixed heroin and ethanol intoxication.”

Investigators said Messerle sold the two “china white” heroin, which is heroin mixed with the prescription narcotic Fentanyl. The combination is said to be up to five-times more potent than heroin alone.

Hatch says new cannabis oil law ‘needs more work’

Jack Hatch, the Democratic candidate for governor, says allowing the production of cannabis oil in Iowa is a logical step after decriminalizing possession of the marijuana derivative. Hatch, who is a member of the Iowa Senate, voted this spring for the new law that shields Iowans who have severe epilepsy from prosecution if they use cannabis oil as treatment for their seizures.

“I think what was finally negotiated showed a willingness on the part of Republicans and Democrats to solve a problem,” Hatch told reporters today. “Clearly we have not. It needs more work.”

The parents of children diagnosed with a rare and severe form of epilepsy are asking Iowa officials to allow marijuana to be grown here, so cannabis oil can be produced and purchased here. Hatch said those parents make a compelling case, because if they go to Colorado to buy cannabis oil, they have to bring it back through Nebraska, where it’s illegal. Some states where cannabis oil can be legally purchased also restrict sales to residents of that state.

“So we really haven’t done very much,” Hatch said. “I think the obligation and the committment we made to those families has got to be fulfilled and if it means that we have to produce it here and dispense it here under tight regulations, then that needs to be part of our obligation.”

Governor Branstad this morning said he’s willing to discuss the idea, but he wants to ensure “the safety of Iowans is protected.” Hatch suggested Branstad’s living in a time warp when it comes to pot.

“He still falls in this category of this cultural recognition that marijuana was a recreational drug and he’s got to get over that,” Hatch said. “It now has sound medical purposes and our consumers are needed it. Our families need it.”

Hatch also faulted the governor for failing to speed up the process for issuing the I-D cards that will protect epileptic patients from prosecution if they’re caught with cannabis oil. The state law on the subject took effect July 1st, but officials at the state agency in charge say those cards won’t be issued until January 30.

Branstad ‘willing to look’ at production of cannabis oil in Iowa (AUDIO)

Governor Terry Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds.

Governor Terry Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds.

Governor Terry Branstad is not immediately ruling out a request from the parents of children with chronic epilepsy who want to buy cannabis oil grown and produced in Iowa.

“I’m willing to look at all proposals,” Branstad says. “I just want to make sure that the safety of Iowans is protected and that we don’t have unintended consequences.”

Branstad signed a bill into law this spring that decriminalizes possession of cannabis oil as treatment for severe epilepsy, but caregivers must go out of state to buy the product. Last week, six of the 10 members of a legislative committee appointed to study implementation of that law said it’s time for Iowa to make growing and distributing marijuana legal, if it’s used for medical purposes.

Governor Branstad was opposed to decriminalizing cannabis oil possession earlier this year, but then changed his mind after meeting with the parents of children with chronic epilepsy who believe the oil can help reduce the duration and severity of seizures. Now those parents are pushing to get cannabis oil produced here.

“I think you’ve got to be very careful because you don’t want unintended consequences, you don’t want marijuana being grown and then being used illegally,” Branstad says, “so I think it would really depend upon how carefully and strictly it could be managed and controlled.”

The caregivers of children with chronic epilepsy say they’ve seen how cannabis oil is helping children in Colorado, for example, who’ve been able to take cannabis oil.

Branstad made his comments in answer to a question posed during his weekly news conference.

AUDIO of Branstad’s news conference



Dyersville man accused of selling meth near a playground

A Dyersville man is charged with two counts of distributing methamphetamine near a playground and one count of possessing pseudoephedrine for use in the manufacture of methamphetamine.

The charges against 29-year-old Robert John Mueller, allege that in June of this year, he distributed a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine within one-thousand feet of and playground in Dyersville called Candy Cane Park. Mueller faces a possible maximum sentence of 40 years in prison and a two-million dollar fine once he is sentenced.


Three Mason City residents sentenced in meth conspiracy

Three Mason City residents will go to jail for their involvement in a meth distribution ring. Forty-two-year-old George Lynn Perry, 42-year-old Angelita Gutierrez pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute meth and 47-year-old Dave Charles Schaer was found guilty by a jury.

The evidence showed all three were supplied with large quantities of meth, which they then sold. Perry and Gutierrez were each given a five-year sentenced. Schaer had a previous conviction on a felony drug charge, and was sentenced to 156 months in prison.


Interim panel embraces concept of growing, making medical marijuana in Iowa

Six of the 10 members of a legislative committee say it’s time for Iowa to make growing and distributing marijuana legal, if it’s used for medical purposes.

Iowa has a new law that allows possession of cannabis oil as treatment of severe epilepsy, but parents of seizure-prone children say too many barriers still exist since they have to go out of state to get it. Sally Gaer of West Des Moines has a daughter who has been diagnosed with a severe and chronic form of epilepsy.

“We can and must do better,” Gaer said Thursday.”Iowa needs to have its own cannabis grown in the state. Growing and dispensing fits in with the healthiest state initiative.”

That’s a reference to Governor Terry Branstad’s push to improve Iowa’s ranking among the state on health issues. Gaer spoke Thursday to the 10-member legislative committee assembled to review the new state law that decriminalized possession of cannabis oil and consider changes to it. Gaer said at least two dozen states regulate the production and distribution of cannabis oil, but only for their own residents, so Iowa families are left out.

“Working together, we can come up with a program that can benefit our medically fragile and the leader in the nation in safety and common sense,” Gaer said. “This program has to include growing, processing and distributing the medicine in Iowa.”

All five Democrats and one of the five Republicans on the committee voted for such a move, although the Republican who voted yes only supports providing the cannabis oil that might be produced in Iowa to chronic epileptics.

Legislative leaders appointed the 10-member committee to review the new state law on cannabis oil and consider changes to it. Their recommendations will be drafted in a report and presented to all 150 legislators in January.