NEW HARTFORD — Each of Iowa’s 99 county sheriffs is being asked to report on what local crimes they’re seeing that may be tied to international cartels, from illegal drugs to human trafficking.
U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley says he’s sending letters to every Iowa sheriff, asking for their input. “Cartels are now establishing a presence all across the country, including Iowa,” Grassley says. “Now I’ve had people in law enforcement tell me that they’re operating in all 50 states.” Cartel-driven crimes are “soaring” in the U-S, according to Grassley, but he says the local impact often remains unclear because there isn’t comprehensive data.
“I’m asking every Iowa sheriff to send me any information that they have about cartel operations in their respective counties,” Grassley says. “This information will help me determine what federal resources are needed to root out local cartel influence and secure our border.” With Interstates 35 and 80, Grassley says Iowa is at an intersection of major smuggling routes, and Iowa law enforcement officers monitor those routes every day.
Grassley, a Republican, blames Democrats for the situation. “Unfortunately, this administration’s loose enforcement of the law has resulted in a historic crisis at our southern border,” Grassley says. “Chaos at the border has led to a rise in drug smuggling and human trafficking which fuels the cartel and enriches the cartel.” Grassley also blames the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration for repeatedly stonewalling requests for records and hampering congressional oversight.