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Heroin distribution halted in Newton drug search

Six arrested in task force operation

A drug task force halted a Newton heroin distribution operation after six heroin overdoses were reported in the city within the last week.

Six Jasper County residents are charged following the execution of a search warrant by the Mid-Iowa Narcotics Enforcement Task Force's east division along with local law enforcement on Tuesday at 715 W. Fourth St. N. Officers discovered heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, prescription pills and drug paraphernalia at the home.

Jasper County Lt. Aaron Groves, who serves on the MINE Task Force, said a "bad batch" of heroin was being dealt and used in Newton, which caused the overdoses. Groves said those people were treated with Narcan, a prescription medicine used to block the effects of opioids.

Groves, who released details of the drug search on Wednesday, said two samples of what is believed to be fentanyl, an opioid pain medication, were also sent to the lab.

"There were no fatalities that we know of (from the overdoses)— someone found them in a short amount of time," Groves said.

The six people who were present at the residence during the execution of the search warrant and were arrested on various drug charges include Tyler M. Gilbert, 24, of Newton; Crystal L. Mendenhall, 30, of Newton,; Jeffrey A. Waddell, 41, of Newton; William L. Filson, 45, of Newton; Julie A. Waddell, 61, of Colfax and Mary Jo Sliger, 49, of Newton. Gilbert also had multiple arrest warrants. 

Groves said officers learned Gilbert and Mendenhall were distributing heroin and other controlled substances in Newton. Gilbert was additionally charged with obstructing prosecution when he told police he dumped one gram of heroin outside his bedroom window during the search, according to court documents.

Local officers have been working on the heroin investigation for about two months, Groves said. The reason behind the expedited search warrant was to quickly remove the harmful controlled substances from Newton, he said.

"Newton has had its issues with methamphetamine and the heroin epidemic is worse," Groves said. "We wanted to send a message — we will do everything we can to keep this out of the community."

Additional charges are pending.

The Jasper County Sheriff’s Office, the Newton Police Department and the Newton Fire Department assisted with the execution of the warrant. 

Gilbert remains at the Jasper County Jail on $163,500 bond, Mendenhall remains at the Jasper County Jail on $100,000 bond, Jeffrey Waddell, was released at initial appearances and fined $65, Julie Waddell posted $300 bond, Filson was released at initial appearances and fined $250 and Sliger posted $1,300 bond.

Contact Kayla Singletary at 641-792-3121 ext. 6533 or


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