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      Budget cuts threaten to end drug task force investigations

      The Southeast Iowa Inter-Agency Drug Task Force is now getting close to the end of a major drug trafficking investigation.

      The investigation began two years ago when a confidential source purchased small amounts of meth. So far, over 30 people have been arrested on drug charges. Most of them Wapello County residents. Unfortunately, Ottumwa Police Lieutenant Jason Bell says complicated long term investigations may become a thing of the past.

      ??This year we're facing a 46 percent reduction in funding. That's not just for our task force, but it's through task forces all over the state. These types of investigations may not be possible in the future. At some point law enforcement will have to make a decision on where we are going go with task forces,?? Lt. Bell said.

      Bell hopes that southeast Iowans recognize the importance of task force investigations. He said that without the task force, nearly three dozen drug dealers would still be roaming the streets. The next goal for task force officers is to make more arrests before the investigation is closed.Previous stories....Search warrant leads to arrest on outstanding warrants Ottumwa search warrants yield drugs and arrestsOPD, Feds bust Ottumwa man for meth