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Crystal Meth And Marijuana Seized

By Staff | Oct 7, 2008

GRAETTINGER – An investigation by the Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office into suspected drug activity in Graettinger resulted in the arrest of two Graettinger residents late last week. In addition, a quantity of Crystal Methamphetamine and Marijuana, along with a vehicle and cash were seized during the arrests.

According to Palo Alto County Sheriff Dennis Goeders, his office had received information about suspected illegal drug activity in Graettinger over the past few weeks. In the course of the investigation, Deputy Eric Ring conducted surveillance of a location in Graettinger observing possible traffic coming and going from the residence at 307 North Cedar. At approximately 10:00 pm Wednesday, Oct. 1, Deputy Ring observed Gary Dean Smith, 65, of Graettinger, leave 207 North Cedar in a 1996 Chevy S-10 Blazer.

Deputy Ring had prior knowledge that Smith was barred from operating a motor vehicle in the State of Iowa. Smith was then stopped on the traffic violation in the 300 block of South Cedar Street and was subsequently arrested for Driving While Barred. Following Smith’s arrest, a search of his vehicle revealed 6 grams of suspected crystal methamphetamine (Ice) and 2.5 grams of suspected marijuana along with $535.00 in cash.

Under Iowa law, Smith’s vehicle was then seized because of its use in a drug-related crime. Forfeiture proceedings are being initiated on the cash and vehicle by the Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office.

Smith was booked into the Palo Alto County Jail on charges of Possession with Intent to Deliver within 1000 feet of the Graettinger School, which calls for an additional

Five year prison term and is a Class “B” Felony. Smith was also charged with Violation of Drug Tax Stamp laws, a Class “D” Felony; Second and Subsequent offense Possession of Controlled Substance – Marijuana, an Aggravated Misdemeanor; Possession of Drug Paraphernalia a Simple Misdemeanor and Driving while Barred an Aggravated Misdemeanor.

As the investigation continued, the Sheriff’s Office then obtained a search warrant for the residence at 307 North Cedar in Graettinger. At approximately 3:15 am Thursday, Oct. 2, Sheriff’s deputies executed that search warrant. In the execution of the warrant, 46-year old Debbie Marie Helmich of Graettinger was taken into custody at the residence. Various items drug paraphernalia and prescription pills were discovered during the search of the residence. Debbie Marie Helmich was arrested and charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, a Simple Misdemeanor, and was booked into the Palo Alto County Jail.

Charges are pending on Helmich and Smith in regard to the prescription pills located at the residence.

The Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office was assisted in the arrests and search by the Palo Alto County Attorney’s Office, Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Reserves and the Sheriff Office K9, Rakker and handler Deputy Eric Ring.

According to Sheriff Goeders, the investigation is continuing.