By Mark Newman
Courier Staff Writer
---- — 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.
Horn, 32, of Cincinnati, is accused of conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, a Class B felony. Horn is being held on a $100,000 cash-only bond.
StevenGarrison, 25, of Cincinnati, is accused of conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, a Class B felony. Garrison is being held on a $100,000 cash-only bond.
Babb, 52, of Cincinnati, is accused of conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, a Class B felony. Babb is being held on a $100,000 cash-only bond.
During the course of the investigation, law enforcement personnel also identified Corey Dwayne Short, 29, of Centerville, LeAnn Nicole Garrison, 23, Cincinnati, and Donald Robert Curtis III, 34, of Ames, alleging they are conspirators in the manufacturing process, as they are accused of purchasing pseudoephedrine on a regular, structured basis.
Short was arrested at his residence at 703 W. Madison St. in Centerville. Police allege he conspired to manufacture methamphetamine, a Class B felony. Short is being held on a $100,000 cash-only bond.
At the time of Short’s arrest, LeAnn Garrison, 23, police say, was found to be in possession of marijuana, a serious misdemeanor. Garrison was arrested and transported to the Appanoose County Jail, where she was charged with conspiring to manufacture methamphetamine, a Class B felony. Garrison is being held on a $101,000 cash-only bond.
Curtis was arrested and charged at the Appanoose County Law Center with conspiring to manufacture methamphetamine, a Class B felony. Curtis is being held on a $100,000 cash-only bond.
The latest activity in this case concerned Jerry Lee Horn, 30, of Centerville, charged in the 500 block of Maple Street in Centerville at 7:45 p.m. Thursday. Horn was charged with felony conspiracy to manufacture a controlled substance. He is being held on $100,000 bond.
Arrests were made by the Appanoose County Sheriff’s Office, South Central Iowa Drug Task Force, Centerville Police Department, Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, Davis County Sheriff’s Office, Southeast Iowa Inter-Agency Drug Task Force and Iowa State Patrol.
Cincinnati, population 426, is located between Centerville and the Missouri state line.
— To see reporter Mark Newman's Twitter feed, go to @couriermark