Narcotic use in Floyd County is no different than any other county or state. Marijuana is currently illegal in Iowa as is all other narcotics. Fines range from serious misdemeanors to felonies, jail and prison time. Drugs seen in Floyd County include; marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, LSD, Heroin, and various prescription pills.
A methamphetamine epidemic started in late 1990’s in the United States. This was the production of methamphetamine in small household labs. Around 1995, methamphetamine became widely popular and the production of methamphetamine sky rocketed in Iowa. These "Ma & Pa" labs allowed ordinary people to purchase easily available household ingredients and manufacture methamphetamine in their own house.
The number of methamphetamine labs in Floyd County started with just 2 in 1999, then grew to double digits by 2004, with 2003 having the highest at 33 meth labs and dumpsites. 2003 also saw Iowa as having the highest number of meth labs in the nation. In 2005 a new law limiting the purchase amount of pseudoephedrine (a key ingredient) was passed and the number of meth labs rapidly decreased down to only 168 labs in Iowa by 2007. The majority of meth is still imported into our area.
Since then criminals have developed new, faster and less involved methods to manufacture methamphetamine, these are called one-pot meth labs. These smaller labs are easier to make and harder to detect. One-pot meth labs started an increase in the number of labs since 2009 but it has stayed steady since 2010, averaging about 310 labs per year. Floyd County has only had 1-4 labs or dumpsites per year since 2006.
The Floyd County Sheriff’s Office has 3 state certified deputies trained for investigating, processing, dismantling and disposing of methamphetamine labs and dumpsites. The Sheriff’s Office also does presentations on narcotics and meth labs for schools, businesses and community organizations. For more information or if you would like to have a presentation, contact Deputies Brian Tiedemann, Travis Bartz or Pat Shirley at 641-228-1821.
Warning Signs of Living Near a Meth Lab
• Strong odor of solvents
• Residences with windows blacked out
• Smell of anhydrous ammonia
• Chemical stains
• Smell of starting fluid - ether
• Rubber or plastic tubing
• Increased activity, especially at night
• Excessive trash
• Exhaust fans in windows
Common Meth Lab Supplies
• Ephedrine or pseudoephedrine tablets
• Propane tanks (with bluish valves)
• Plastic tubing
• Mason jars
• Soda or water bottles
• Camp stove fuel
• Empty pill bottles or blister packs
• Salt containers
• Lithium batteries
• Muriatic acid
• Toluene, alcohol or paint thinner
• Anhydrous ammonia
• Starter fluid (ether)
• Coffee filters with red stains
• Red Devil Lye
• Drain opener
• Cold ice packs
Signs someone may be using Methamphetamine
• Extremely hyper and obsessive behavior
• Open sores and skin lesions on arms and face
• Greasy hair and tooth decay
• Awake for days and then sleepy for days
• Nervous and anxious
• Rapid weight and hair loss
• Aggressive and violent behavior
• Frequent sweating
• Dialated and rapid, darting eyes
The most common chemicals used to start the meth-making process are over-the-counter cold medications. Typical brands include Sudafed and Claritin, which contain ephedrine or pseudoephedrine as decongestants or stimulants.
How to Recognize a Meth Lab
Meth labs may be set up in houses, cars, rest areas, rental homes,parks, motel rooms, wooded areas, garages, storage sheds, barns and vacant buildings.
A typical meth lab is a collection of items listed above, either partially or whole. These items may be in original containers or concealed. They may be dumped as is or placed in garbage bags or boxes. Labs are frequently abandoned and the waste is potentially harmful if you would come into contact with it. Chemicals may also be burned or dumped in woods or along roads.
***Please use caution when cleaning up roadside garbage or garbage bags found in wooded areas.
If You Suspect a Meth Lab....
Do not go near or in an area where you think it may be used for cooking meth. Labs present extreme dangers from explosions and exposure to hazardous chemicals. Breathing the fumes and handling substances can cause injury and even death.
Never handle any materials you suspect were used for making meth, such as contaminated glassware and needles. Skin contact can result in burns or poisoning. Handling items can also cause some of the chemicals to explode on contact with water or air. The chemicals can cause damage by inhalation, injection or contact. If you are not sure what it is, do NOT touch.
Consider that when law enforcement responds to a meth lab, they wear specially designed chemical suits and boots, gloves, respirators or even SCBA.
If you suspect a methamphetamine lab or other suspicious activity in your area contact the Floyd County Sheriff's Office or your local law enforcement agency immediately.