Drug bust procedure explained

Kaitlin York

Marijuana is the most commonly found drug for law enforcement throughout central Iowa, said Cmdr. Mike Brennan of the Ames Police Department. This statistic affects the Central Iowa Drug Task Force and its endeavors to combat drug use throughout Central Iowa.

The Central Iowa Drug Task Force is an investigative body made up of representatives from across central Iowa who work in a cooperative effort to deal with drug related issues, Brennan said.

Officers often come across drug-related incidents during their eight-hour shifts, Brennan said.

When responding to a call, if an officer sees, smells or receives some indication of the presence of drugs or paraphernalia, the officer can attempt to perform a search of the location, Brennan said. The officer must also be able to identify if it is an illegal drug.

Noise complaints are very common in Ames and lead to many of the drug busts that have occurred, Brennan said. 

“Say you’re at a party and the cops come because of noise and what not. You’re busy smoking dope and the officers can smell it,” Brennan said, “or neighbors are complaining that they smell heaps of marijuana and officers make a visit three or four times within two weeks — that allows them to apply for a search warrant.”

Officers gain search warrants for a household by creating a statement involving reasonable facts that have allowed them to reach the conclusion.

Judges hearing cases regarding drugs rely on the officer’s testimony as to why it seems that particular place contained the suspected drug, Brennan said.

“In some cases, someone will report their motorcycle being stolen and forget to hide their drugs,” Brennan said. “They will end up being charged for that.”

Traffic stops are another way officers get involved with drug incidents. If someone is arrested and has drugs, the person can also receive a ticket.

There are a number of variables that determine the fine for a drug-related charge. The court is the hierarchy that makes the final decisions.

If the Ames Police Department deals with an ISU student and drugs or alcohol, it is not reported to the school. However, weekly meetings with ISU Police, Ames Police Department and Story County Sheriff’s Office are held in order to keep an organized flow of communication in the county.