A local man has submitted a guilty plea to Felony charges related to his operating a methamphetamine (meth) lab with active production in various stages. The criminal operation took place in an apartment above a gun shop and popular local restaurant on the public square in Osceola. The diligence of Osceola’s police officers resulted in the arrest following a rigorous investigation and the execution of a judicially approved search warrant. As is widely known, the chemicals used in clandestine meth labs are highly prone to poisonous explosions and intense fires. This significant threat to public safety was less than 100 yards from the public bandstand and Clarke County Courthouse. We can only speculate whether a fire or explosion would have had the potential to detonate stores of ammunition in the gun shop below. Adding to the danger, the cooks of meth have often been awake for days and may be high when they combine or cook the various highly explosive and poisonous ingredients required to make the final crystalline product designed for smoking, snorting, or injecting. In this case, hazardous material experts from the State of Iowa assisted in securing the scene in a safe manner. The Defendant is suspected of using local residents to purchase the highly regulated precursor ingredients, such as pseudoephedrine based cold and allergy medicine, in small amounts and accumulating them for meth production. This is referred to in criminal and law enforcement circles as “smurfing.” Ironically, the alleged meth cook was also working as (food) cook in a local restaurant and on parole from prison when arrested. The Defendant faces a lengthy prison sentence. As our annual case statistics demonstrate, the drug interdiction efforts by law enforcement in Clarke County produce dramatically more cases than any of the 8 other counties in our Judicial District (5B). In fact, the year-to-date measures of the total number of cases reflect that the next busiest County in our District has thus far disposed of about 48 percent fewer cases.
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In terms of December’s workload, 8 Felony cases came in and 9 were disposed. Felony cases are the most serious of criminal cases. The number of pending Felonies remains at 82.
Indictable Misdemeanors are Misdemeanor crimes that are punishable by more than a year but no more than two years of incarceration. Misdemeanor crimes are categorized as Aggravated, Serious, and Simple. Aggravated Misdemeanors are the most serious misdemeanors and can be punished by up to two years in prison. Serious Misdemeanor crimes are punishable by up to one year in the County Jail. Simple Misdemeanor crimes are punishable by up to 30 days in the county jail. As you can imagine, fines increase with the severity of the crime.
In December, 18 Indictable Misdemeanors came in 13 were disposed. The State’s case tracking system reflects that the pending number is up slightly to 179.
In December, 192 Simple Misdemeanors came in and 245 were disposed. State’s case tracking system reflects that the total number of pending Simple Misdemeanors is now down from 533 to 466.
In December, the Clarke County Attorney’s Office Juvenile case load included no new Child in Need of Assistance (CINA) 7 were disposed. The State’s case tracking system reflects a decrease in the total number of pending Juvenile cases from 84 to 72.
*** Written by Adam Ramsey the Clarke County Attorney