Task force seizes 20 pounds of meth, arrests three

Mid-Iowa Drug Task Force deputies arrested three people in connection with a meth ring Friday, concluding an 18-month investigation.

Police arrested Nicholas Ramirez-Martinez, 44, of Marshalltown, Rene Fernandez, 49, of San Luis, Ariz., and Francisco Salgado-Aguirre, 47, of Yuma, Ariz.

With the help of the Marshalltown Police Department’s K-9 unit and the Drug Enforcement Administration, the task force seized 20 pounds of methamphetamine, $60,000 in cash, a tractor/trailer and another passenger vehicle during the sting, according to Det. Joel Phillips, with the Mid-Iowa Drug Task Force.

The street value of the drugs intercepted during the sting is estimated at $900,000.

Ramirez-Martinez is charged with possession of meth with intent to deliver, a special Class B felony, failure to affix drug tax stamp, a Class D felony, and prohibited acts, an aggravated misdemeanor. He is being held at the Marshall County Jail on $500,000 cash bond.

Both Salgado-Aguirre and Fernandez are charged with conspiracy to distribute meth, a special Class B felony, and are being held on a $100,000 bond at the Polk County Jail.

Additional arrests are pending as the investigation continues, according to Phillips.

A special Class B felony is punishable by up to 50 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Ramirez-Martinez’s preliminary hearing is set for 1 p.m. Feb. 19.