CINCINNATI — A small town was the center of a big series of arrests Thursday.
At about 6:30 a.m., police served two probable-cause narcotics search warrants in the town of Cincinnati, Iowa. Throughout the day, other arrests were made in Iowa until, as of Friday afternoon, eight Iowans were in custody on felony drug charges.
"It's one of the biggest [police actions] I've been involved in," said Drug Task Force Officer Brad Ryals.
A release from the Appanoose County Sheriff's Office said the search found "one-pot" methamphetamine laboratories at two residences along with ingredients involved in the manufacturing process including Coleman fuel, sodium hydroxide and ammonium nitrate.
When asked if there would be even more arrests, Ryals acknowledged it was possible.
"We're still investigating, and we still have leads to follow," he told the Courier on Friday.
The warrants were served on the residence of Billy Joe Shiltz, 109 LaSalle St., and the residence of Steven Lee Garrison, Jeffery Ryan Horn and James Louis Babb Jr., 501 W. Pleasant St.
Various clues led officers to suspect the two locations were the scenes of drug manufacturing. An example includes, Ryals said, the system in which retailers record purchases of certain cold medicine used in the manufacture of meth. After those clues created enough suspicion with the experts, police started quietly investigating.
"My investigation started in February," Ryals said.
If there is a message, here, he said, the eight arrests should tell meth users "that we're watching them, and the public that we're taking these guys off the street."
Arrested was one of the homeowners, Shiltz, 48, of Cincinnati, charged with conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, a Class B felony. He also had precursors to making meth. Shiltz is being held in the custody of the Appanoose County Sheriff on a $150,000 cash-only bond.