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Authorities execute search warrant at Urgent Care

Published: Wednesday, April 6, 2011 11:42 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, April 6, 2011 12:21 p.m. CDT

Local and federal officials were involved in executing a federal search warrant at Urgent Care in Newton on Tuesday morning, though a spokesman with the U.S. Attorney’s office declined to elaborate on the nature of the search.

“We are able to confirm that a search warrant was executed (Tuesday) at a business office located at 321 East 3rd Street North, Newton, Iowa, and that the search involved the following agencies: Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations (HHS-OIG); Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); Jasper County Sheriff Department; Newton Police Department; and the Mid-Iowa Narcotics Enforcement (MINE) Task Force-East,” wrote Kevin E. VanderSchel, First Assistant U.S. Attorney for Iowa’s Southern district. “We are, however, unable to provide any further comment at this time.”

Lt. Eric Nation, commanding officer of the Mid-Iowa Narcotics Enforcement (MINE) Task Force-East said Tuesday night that because of the scope of the case, he and Jasper County Sheriff’s officials decided to call in the assistance of federal investigators.

Newton Police referred all questions to the U.S. Attorney’s Office as did a spokesperson for the FBI.

Jasper County Sheriff Mike Balmer said that his office would not be releasing any more information on the case without the consent of the U.S. Attorney’s office in Des Moines. Balmer and Nation both originally expected a press release today, but VanderSchel said he didn’t plan on a release Wednesday morning.

Debbie Martin, Manger of the Urgent Care Clinic gave a statement today about Tuesday’s events.

“We are involved in an ongoing investigation and are cooperating fully with authorities,” she said. “We are operating under our normal business hours at this time.”

Doctor Lafayette Twyner, M.D., practices out of the Urgent Care office.

All the authorities on scene caught the attention of a number of people, including staff at nearby Skiff Medical Center, prompting Skiff CEO Steve Long to issue the following statement:

“You may have noticed the activity across the street at Urgent Care (Tuesday) morning. It appears that there is an on-site investigation occurring by federal and local law enforcement. Skiff Medical Center is not associated with the operations of Urgent Care and we are not privy to the details of the activity occurring there (Tuesday),” he wrote.

The Urgent Care building was the same building out of which Newton Doctor Angel Serafin Martin practiced. Martin was convicted in federal court on 31 counts of health care fraud and sentenced to six months in prison in 2010.