The Marshall County Sheriff's Office has arrested an alleged mid-level drug dealer supplying the county with meth.
Police arrested Ricardo Castellanos, 37, Monday after monitoring his drug activities since 2009, said Sgt. Joel Phillips of the Mid Iowa Drug Task Force.
Before his arrest, Phillips said, Castellanos was a mid-level distributor from whom undercover officers regularly bought methamphetamine. Police had hoped that Castellanos would eventually lead them to bigger fish - the drug kingpin flooding the county with meth.
But, after watching Castellanos for over three years, the other shoe never fell. Police lost track of Castellanos, whose last known address was in Marshalltown, several times and began questioning whether putting him in jail would better serve society.
"We gained all the information we could by watching him," Phillips said. "There comes a point in an investigation: do we leave an individual out there who is actually involved in criminal acts? ... We are not gaining anymore ... He hasn't given us the big guy."
The decision to arrest Castellanos was not any easy one, Phillips said.
Someone else will inevitably take his place.
"This is not a hit to the drug cartel by any means," he said.
But at the end of the day, he said, the task force has to look at it as a gain: police managed to take more than 5 grams of meth off the street in one incident, not to mention all the times undercover agents bought smaller amounts.
"We have to look at it as a victory in that respect," he said.
The average meth user uses roughly a quarter of a gram each time they use, Phillips said.
Castellanos is charged with knowingly distributing more than 5 grams of meth, a Class B felony, and possession of a taxable substance without the appropriate stamp, a Class D felony, according to police reports.
Castellanos's bond is set at $100,000.
Marshall County Chief Deputy Burt Tecklenburg said the arrest of former Marshalltown businessman Max Nelson, Jr. is not connected to the Castellanos case.