A drug task force in eastern Iowa has won a regional award for “outstanding investigation” in its effort to break up a major methamphetamine ring. The Midwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program in Kansas City made the presentation to D.E.A. officials in Cedar Rapids on behalf of several agencies.

Northern District U.S. Attorney, Stephanie Rose, says it began with the seizure of 15 pounds of meth in Waterloo. Rose says the federal agencies has to rely on the help of state and local agencies to supplement the investigations of drug and immigration crimes, and she says the local effort allowed them to have a successful case. The case that started in Waterloo expanded to include 13 people and the seizure of 30 total pounds of meth and $500,000 dollars in cash.

Rose says they believe the meth ring had distributed some 300 to 500 pounds of meth between 2004 and 2009. She says the meth was distributed in Waterloo, but actually came up from the southwest border of the U.S. Rose says the various agencies put in long hours to track down those involved and to shut down the meth ring.

“Certainly this was an enormous methamphetamine organization in Waterloo, and it will certainly help Waterloo as well as other portions of Iowa, having removed some of these people from the drug chain,” Rose says. In addition to the Cedar Rapids HIDTA Task Force, 25 individuals received commendations for their work on the investigation.

They were from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Iowa; Drug Enforcement Administration in Cedar Rapids and St. Louis; Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement; Waterloo Police Department; Cedar Falls Police Department; Iowa National Guard; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; Internal Revenue Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation; Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation; Iowa Department of Correctional Services; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and the Oelwein Police Department.

The Midwest HIDTA is a coalition consisting of federal, state, and local agencies from six states.