What may be "ecstacy" for drug dealers is anything but ecstatic for local police, Iowa educators, and the young people who may get caught up in the web of the latest designer drug.
On Wednesday, Storm Lake police arrested a 21-year-old Buena Vista University student while other officers collared a 21-year-old Ames man in the first case involving the amphetamine "Ecstacy" in the area. They hope that in the process, they have broken a link to bring the drug into the community and onto the BVU campus.
"Ecstacy is a form of speed, with symptoms somewhat similar to methamphetamine, but some more extreme than that. It gives a quick high and a feeling of euphoria," Police Chief Mark Prosser told the Pilot-Tribune.
The drug tends to make the consumer delusional, and can be damaging physically and emotionally. It is consider a very dangerous threat, Prosser said.
"Ecstacy has just exploded on the east and west coast. After about a year and a half, it is beginning to filter into Iowa. This is the first case we have seen in our community."
The local case has been months in the making.
After following up on information from unrevealed sources, police executed a search warrant April 2 in room 102 of the White Hall residence building on the BVU campus. Officers seized 10 tablets of ecstacy from that location, as well as marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Further investigation pointed police toward Ames as the suspected source of the drug.
The local department turned to the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, and its agents executed a search warrant at an Ames home, 1300 Coconine Road #226, on May 1. The agents, supported by the Central Iowa Drug Task Force, seized more ecstacy and marijuana.
"In an investigation like this, we follow up on a variety of types and styles of information looking for something useable; there can be cooperation involved from individuals. It takes time to put a case like this one together," Prosser said.
On Wednesday, it all came together.
Storm Lake police arrested BVU student David Stamper, 21, of Nevada, as he surrendered to authorities in Storm Lake. He is charged with felony Possession of methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstacy) and misdemeanor possession of marijuana. He was booked and released pending a court date.
On the same day, DNE agents arrested Andrew Shonka, 21, of Ames, and charged him with felonies of Possession With Intent to Deliver methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstacy) and a drug tax stamp violation, plus misdemeanor charges on marijuana possession and prohibited acts. He was jailed in Story County on $31,200 bond.
Ecstacy usually appears in tablet form, Prosser said. There is no indication that the drug in this case left the campus area, and there have been no indication of its use among students at the high school level, although authorities are always keeping a close watch for it, Prosser said. No more local arrests are expected at this time in the case.