Federal agencies raid 20 metro-area homes in narcotics and weapons investigation

Local News

CENTRAL IOWA – Neighborhoods in the metro were disrupted early Thursday morning, as authorities stormed 20 homes.

Federal agencies raided the homes and apartments as part of a larger investigation into federal narcotics and weapons charges, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Those residences were served federal search warrants early Thursday morning, all in residential neighborhoods. Most of them, fifteen, were in Des Moines; three were in Urbandale; and two in Clive.

Local 5 talked to people who live in those areas – and some are more surprised than others.

“I was reading down the list as I do, and boom there it was, you know, right here where I live,” said Urbandale resident Michal Sweeney.
 
Sweeney says he is shocked when he saw his block listed as one of the 20 raid sites. He says he has never seen anything suspicious at his apartment complex before.
 
“For the nine months I’ve lived here, this has been a great place,” Sweeney said. “You know, it’s quiet. It’s friendly. People say hi. It’s home, you know.”
 
Another neighborhood reacting to Thursday morning’s raids are some residents in Clive, who live just East of the Krispy Kreme on 86th Street.
 
“Our block here is full of retirees and it’s very quiet,” said Clive resident Chris Christy.
 
But Christy and other homeowners here say the apartments just around the corner from them on Harbach Boulevard have been causing some problems.
 
“I hear sirens all the time going on around the neighborhood,” Christy said. “And I’m just assuming, I don’t know anything or anybody that lives there, but you know it was just kind of a matter of time.”
 
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is leading the investigation and says the raids are connected.
 
“Everything that was done today in Des Moines and the surrounding areas is all in relation to the same investigation,” said John Ham, the PIO of the ATF’s Kansas City Field Division. “There were also some warrants served out of state, in other parts of the United States that are affiliated with this case.”
 
And although authorities have been on this case for a while, it is still catching some people off guard.
 
“You like to think of the area where you live as, you know, good and friendly and homey,” Sweeney said. “This is just a little bit strange you know, like I said, I didn’t see this coming.”
 
The ATF was joined by the IRS, Homeland Security and other federal agencies Thursday morning for the raids. They were also assisted by the Des Moines Police Department and the Iowa State Patrol.
 
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa says 18 people related to the search warrants appeared in federal court on Thursday. But it is still unclear what exactly they were charged with.
 
Stick with Local 5 for the latest on this investigation.

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