Drug Enforcement Operation Nets 73 Arrests

Orange City, Iowa — The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office advises that their deputies recently participated in a drug enforcement operation, which covered several counties in multiple states and netted 73 arrests.

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They report that it took place from April 1, 2015 to April 21, 2015. We are told it included law enforcement agencies from federal, state, and local levels, covering Omaha Nation and Winnebago Nation Tribal Lands, Plymouth, Woodbury, Sioux, and Monona counties in Iowa, Union County in South Dakota, and Dakota County in Nebraska. The Operation was called “Blue Fog,” an enforcement operation led by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Tri‐State Drug Task Force which targeted low level drug dealers/users.

The Operation made 73 arrests and issued 19 drug citations; additionally, seven search warrants were executed.

Drugs seized were crystal methamphetamine, crack cocaine, marijuana, marijuana wax, THC chocolate candies, THC gummy bears, Molly (Ecstasy,) Adderall, Hydrocodone, and Xanax pills. Other items seized were a meth lab, 30 drug pipes, 14 drug scales, a marijuana grinder, MSM (cutting agent for methamphetamine), a false bottom container, baggies, and other misc. drug paraphernalia.

The investigation is on‐going and additional drug arrests are pending.

Inappropriate Behavior Leads To Jail Time

Orange City, Iowa — A Rock Valley man’s inappropriate behavior around minors has led to jail time for a probation violation.
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Sioux County Attorney Thomas G. Kunstle says that 33-year-old Daniel Stephen Leeney of Rock Valley, has been sentenced to 30 days in jail after a probation violation. After his jail sentence, Leeney is to continue on probation under additional conditions that he be
prohibited from being within 300 feet of a school, public library, child care facility, playground, recreational or sport-related activity area, swimming pool when used by minors, or be present on a school bus.

Leeney was originally sentenced on August 26, 2014, to 70 days in the Sioux County Jail and was placed on probation for two years, for the crime of Attempt to Entice a Minor Under 16, an Aggravated Misdemeanor.

Kunstle says Leeney’s probation violation began on September 18, 2014 when he exhibited inappropriate behaviors inside the Rock Valley City Hall. On March 19, 2015, Kunstle says that Leeney, in his spray-painted black car, slowly followed an 8-year-old girl walking home from school. Three days later, on March 21, Kunstle says Leeney “methodically” drove circles around a park, eventually leaving his car and sitting on a park bench while staring at an 11 year-old girl and her younger brother. He says that when the children’s father arrived, Leeney immediately fled the scene. Three days later, says Kunstle, on March 25, Leeney “systematically” followed two young teenagers around the public library.

On April 3, 2015, the State filed a probation violation based upon the above reports received by the Rock Valley Police Department that Leeney was displaying inappropriate and/or intimidating behavior towards several children and teenagers.

Fire Investigator Testifies At Manasil Trial

Buddz's FirePrimghar, Iowa — Michael Ling is a Fire Investigator with Unified Investigations & Sciences, and spent most of Wednesday afternoon on the stand in the Arson and Insurance Fraud trial of 36-year old Kristina Manasil of Sheldon.  Manasil is accused of setting a fire that destroyed her business, Buddz’s and the Rec Bowl, in May, 2013.

Ling told jurors that he inspected the remains of the Buddz’s structure to try and determine the cause of the blaze.  He testified that there was no fire damage on the east side of the building, and that most of the damage was to the south side.  He said there was more charring to the sheet rock in that area.  Ling testified that the storage room showed 100% fire damage from wall to wall and ceiling to ceiling.  Ling showed various photos to the jury as he explained his findings.

Ling told jurors that he contacted an electrical engineer to inspect the building, as well.  He said debris from the storage room was placed on a tarp to preserve it, and that samples were sent to a forensic laboratory in Arlington, Texas for examination.  Ling said that there was no positive indicator for ignitable fluid, but said that isn’t unusual, due to water saturation from fighting the fire.

Ling told jurors that, in his scientific opinion, the blaze was deliberately set.  He said that natural fire will not progress as quickly as the blaze that destroyed the bowling alley.

Manasil is charged with 1st Degree Arson and Insurance Fraud in connection with the fire.

The trial will resume Thursday morning at 9:30 at the O’Brien County Courthouse in Primghar.


Information on Wednesday morning’s court session can be found here.

Four MORE Suspected Avian Influenza Cases Found

Des Moines, Iowa — The Iowa Department of Agriculture says four suspected new cases of bird flu have turned up, but none of them are in our immediate KIWA coverage area.
Initial testing shows probable cases of the avian influenza at three facilities in Buena Vista County and one in Kossuth County. The probable cases in Buena Vista County include one commercial laying operation with 63-thousand birds, and two on turkey farms. One of the farms has 50-thousand turkeys, while a number was not released for the other. It’s the first case for Kossuth County and involves 19-thousand birds on a breeder farm.

All of the birds at the facilities will be destroyed once the disease has been confirmed. The state just confirmed five new cases that had been probable and along with the first three confirmed cases, it would make 12 cases overall. There were nine-point-seven million birds involved in the first eight cases.

Woman Arrested, Accused Of Stealing, Cashing Checks

Orange City, Iowa — A Sioux City woman has been arrested after authorities say she stole some checks and cashed them at an Orange City bank.
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According to Orange City Police, on Monday, April 27th, they arrested 33-year-old Agnes Rose Sully of Sioux City on charges of Forgery and Theft in the Second Degree, both Class D Felonies.

Orange City Police Chief Jim Pottebaum says the case started on October 30th, 2013, when Sully allegedly cashed two stolen checks at Iowa State Bank in Orange City. The checks had been drawn on the account of an Iowa State Bank customer.

The theft was discovered when the customer tried to use her debit card, but was unable to, due to insufficient funds in the account. Pottebaum says that’s when they looked into it further and found that checks had been stolen.

Chief Pottebaum says Sully was eventually identified with the use of surveillance video. Sully was subsequently arrested.

Center Fresh Latest Victim Of Avian Influenza

Center Fresh LogoNorthwest Iowa — Center Fresh Group, based out of Sioux Center, is the latest company to be hit by the avian bird flu. Of the 6 million laying hens involved in the five cases that were reported as infected on Monday by state and federal regulators, 5.5 million of those were from Center Fresh, with 1.7 million hens located at the Sioux County Egg Farm and 3.8 million hens at the Center Fresh Egg Farm.

Center Fresh is an egg supplier for a company owned by Post Holdings Co., commonly known for their cereal brands, Grape-Nuts, Raisin Bran and Honey Bunches of Oats, and is based out of St. Louis. A Post official confirmed on Wednesday that Center Fresh, a third-party supplier for Michael Foods, which is owned by Post and supplies ten percent of their eggs, was indeed affected by the avian bird flu.

Officials, both state and federal, are stressing the fact that there has never been a case reported in humans, and that it holds no threat to consumers as a food safety risk.

J.T. Dean, the chief financial officer for Center Fresh, said in a statement that they were “incorporating every precautionary measure available to protect (their) flocks” and that Center Fresh is working closely with state and federal regulators “as well as with our colleagues in the farming community, to take the necessary steps to limit the spread of this devastating disease.”

Dean went on to say, “our family has farms across Iowa, and we are committed to working tirelessly and devoting all needed resources to protect our remaining flocks from this disease. Heightened biosecurity protocols and greatly restricted access to farms will be critical to preventing any additional outbreaks.”

So far there have been eight facilities directly affected by the virus in Iowa, with a total of over 10 million birds, including laying hens, turkeys and pullets, needing to be destroyed. The U.S. Department of agriculture is working with the affected companies on how best to dispose of the birds.

While trying to determine how this disease is spreading, federal officials believe that farm workers may be carrying it on their clothing or shoes without realizing it, but it’s also possible that it’s moving on bird feathers or dust carried by the wind, something much more difficult to track.

Dean stated that “our family has spent our lives working to ensure the health and well-being of our flocks, and this news deeply affects all of us. The next few days will be difficult for our family, our employees and our community, and we are grateful for the support of so many during this time.”

Warm weather drastically reduces the ability for the virus to spread, and while this has been a big hit for Northwest Iowa and the surrounding states, as we get closer to summer we can hope to see this issue come to an end.



Date posted – April 27, 2015

Northwest Iowa — According to the Iowa Department of Agriculture, the five possible cases of avian influenza reported on Monday afternoon — have been confirmed.

The agency’s web site says that the cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in commercial poultry farms in Osceola, O’Brien and Sioux Counties in Northwest Iowa are now confirmed.  These five new cases join three cases of the disease in Iowa. All birds on the properties will be humanely euthanized to prevent the spread of the disease.
Osceola County 2 – Pullet farm with an estimated 250,000 birds.

O’Brien County 1 – Commercial laying operation with an estimated 240,000 birds that has experienced increased mortality.

O’Brien County 2 – Commercial laying operation with an estimated 98,000 birds that has experienced increased mortality.

Sioux County 1 – Commercial laying operation with an estimated 1.7 million birds that has experienced increased mortality.

Sioux County 2 – Commercial laying operation with an estimated 3.8 million birds that has experienced increased mortality.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Iowa Department of Public Health considers the risk to people from these HPAI H5 infections in wild birds, backyard flocks and commercial poultry, to be low.  No human infections with the virus have ever been detected there is no food safety risk for consumers.

The United States has the strongest Avian Influenza (AI) surveillance program in the world.  As part of the existing USDA avian influenza response plans, Federal and State partners as well as industry are responding quickly and decisively to these outbreaks by following these five basic steps: 1) Quarantine – restricting movement of poultry and poultry-moving equipment into and out of the control area; 2) Eradicate – humanely euthanizing the affected flock(s); 3) Monitor region – testing wild and domestic birds in a broad area around the quarantine area; 4)  Disinfect – kills the virus in the affected flock locations; and 5) Test – confirm that poultry farms in the area are free of the virus.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship in partnership with the Iowa Department of Public Health are working directly with poultry workers at the affected facilities to ensure proper precautions are being taken.

These virus strains can travel in wild birds without those birds appearing sick. People should avoid contact with sick/dead poultry or wildlife. If contact occurs, wash your hands with soap and water and change clothing before having any contact with healthy domestic poultry and birds.

All bird owners, whether commercial producers or backyard flock owners, should continue to practice good biosecurity, prevent contact between their birds and wild birds, and report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to state/federal officials, either through their state veterinarian at 515-281-5321 or through USDA’s toll-free number at 1-866-536-7593.

Information will also be posted to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s website at www.iowaagriculture.gov/avianinfluenza.asp.


Warmer Weather Could Stop Bird Flu Outbreaks

Date posted – April 22, 2015

Des Moines, Iowa — State and national officials held a conference call on Tuesday, April 21st with reporters to answer questions surrounding the latest bird flu out break in northwest Iowa.
Officials first clarified that the facility in Osceola County has a capacity of five-point-three million egg-laying hens, but there are were three-point-eight million hens there when the disease was discovered. It is still the largest outbreak discovered in the U-S thus far. U-S-D-A chief veterinary officer, John Clifford, says the large number of birds at the Osceola County facility raised concerns.

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(as he says)”A lot of people ask the question ‘well what can we do about it?’ Well, one of the things that we’re doing, we are trying to determine the pathway of introduction into these houses,” Clifford says. “My guess is — and right now there is no solid evidence as such — my guess is there are multiple pathways of entry and it doesn’t mean that people are using poor biosecurity.”

The disease is believe to be carried by wild waterfowl. Clifford says other states like Minnesota have seen more cases than Iowa thus far because they have more lakes and more wild migratory birds. He says other states have also had some colder weather.

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(as he says)”And hopefully through the summer we would expect to stop seeing these cases because of the heat. This virus does not like the heat much at all, it prefers cooler temperatures in weather,” Clifford says. He says we could see more cases of the virus as the waterfowl move again in the fall and spring.

Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey was asked about the economic impact. He says it has varied since the first outbreaks were reported in other states in January.

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(as he says) “In some cases we’ve lost some markets, some export markets. In that case maybe we see a negative impact to prices — we actually see lower prices because there are less place for these egg products and poultry products to move,” Northey says. “In other cases we now are starting to see some significant reductions in the supply, so we are kind of counterbalancing, so it depends on how this plays out on what the impact might be.”

But Northey says while millions of birds have died in Iowa and other states, the impact has not been major in terms of prices.

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(as he says)”Right now it does not appear that the loss of supply in either turkey products or egg products is significant at this time to show a significant impact on prices,” Northey says.

The first outbreak in Iowa was in a turkey facility in Buena Vista County. The 37-thousand turkeys there were destroyed and Northey says state and local officials are helping the Osceola County facility euthanized the birds there. Northey says the cases appear to be isolated at this point.

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(as he says)”We do not believe this is spreading in a way that is likely to create other problems on other farms. We believe this is coming from wild birds to these farms. That does not mean we might not see a significant number of new cases,” according to Northey.

But he says this could also be the last case found in Iowa too. Northey says these two facilities are a small part of the large egg and turkey industry in the state.

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(as he says)”As of today, eggs are still rolling out of most of our facilities. These are good, healthy eggs,” Northey says. “Consumers need to feel very comfortable eating Iowa eggs, eating Iowa turkey and eating Iowa chicken meat as well.”

Doctor Clifford with the U-S-D-A says the eggs from the facility in Osceola are cracked and pasteurized for use in egg products, so that would have killed any of the virus in those eggs. And the chickens are not being released into the market, so they do not pose any threat either.

Story from Radio Iowa

Other information presented during the conference call:

  • The birds are euthanized using either a foam or carbon dioxide gas.
  • Usually the bird carcasses are composted.
  • The experts don’t think the virus is going from farm-to-farm. It is believed to come from wild birds.
  • Officials are accepting samples for testing from farms that send them in, but officials are not actively monitoring any facility.

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