Task force arrests two meth dealers

In unrelated incidents Thursday, the Mid-Iowa Drug Task Force arrested two men for trafficking meth.

Task force deputies arrested Luis Suarez-Avalos, 37, and Steven Kent, 57, both of Marshalltown, for possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, a Class B felony.

Police also charged Suarez-Avalos with a tax stamp violation, a Class D felony, and prohibited acts, an aggravated misdemeanor.

Det. Joel Phillips, with the Mid-Iowa Drug Task Force, said deputies will make at least one more arrest in connection to Suarez-Avalos’s arrest at his home on the 100 block of North Seventh Avenue.

The investigation of Suarez-Avalos began roughly a month ago when neighbors began noticing an unusual amount of people coming and going from the home, he said. He called Suarez-Avalos a mid-level dealer. Police recovered 24 grams of meth from his home.

Phillips said there is a possibility that Suarez-Avalos’s trafficking charge could be enhanced because his home is within 2,000 feet of a school.

The incident from which his charge arises took place Aug. 30, 2011.

Phillips said the two arrests are not connected. He declined further information surrounding Kent’s arrest.

Kent made his initial appearance Thursday, and Suarez-Avalos made his initial appearance Friday. Suarez-Avalos’s preliminary hearing is set for 1 p.m. March 18, and Kent’s preliminary hearing is set for 1 p.m. March 26. The court appointed both men public defenders.

According to court records, the court ordered Kent to undergo a substance abuse evaluation and submit the results to the court within 60 days. Suarez-Avalos is being held on $100,000 cash bond.