Man Shot At By Officers While Trying to Hide Meth in a Car Wash Vacuum

By Britni de la Cretaz 02/02/17

Officers reportedly found five bags of crystal meth near the suspect's car.

Man vacuuming car.

A man trying to hide crystal meth in a vacuum cleaner at a car wash was shot at by police officers, according to the Globe Gazette.

The incident occurred at Awesome Car Wash in Waterloo, Iowa. Paul Daniel Greseth, 31, of Wanamingo, Minnesota was initially detained on state drug charges, but was arrested on a federal charge of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute.

The confrontation on January 22 occurred as part of an undercover sting operation—as officers arranged a drug deal with Greseth who intended to sell them the methamphetamine at the car wash. According to the Globe Gazette, “the drug probe began weeks earlier when West Union police seized some 200 grams of ice meth.”

When Greseth saw the sheriff’s vehicles approaching the car wash, he started attempting to rip open the bags of meth and vacuum up the drugs. But officers still found five bags of meth near Greseth’s car. “One bag of ice meth weighed 85 grams, one bag was 95 grams, two other bags had a combined weight of 240 grams and one bag weighed 75 grams,” reports the Globe Gazette. There also was a "syringe with a clear liquid" in the glove compartment.

In Iowa, methamphetamine is in high demand, as one of the most-used drugs in the state. The percentage of people entering substance abuse treatment who identified meth as their primary substance of abuse reached an all-time high in 2016. "Of the 47,309 clients served by Iowa treatment centers [in 2016], 17.6% of them identified meth as their primary substance of abuse," the Gazette newspaper reported.

Not only that, there were 517 meth-related prison admissions in 2016. “While that is nearly 200 fewer than the 711 meth-related prison admissions in 2004, inmates serving time on meth-related charges has climbed considerably since 2009 when there were 304 such admissions,” the Gazette reported.

A car wash vacuum is far from the oddest thing someone has been caught hiding meth in. Last year, a woman was arrested after trying to smuggle 1.6 pounds of liquid meth in a dreamcatcher. Also, tequila bottles, burritos, fake carrots, toxic waste, and (of course) vaginas.

The Iowa Department of Public Safety says that it is investigating the shooting. According to sources, “Greseth failed to comply with multiple, ongoing commands from officers. During the attempt to secure Greseth, one agent fired two rounds from the agent’s handgun.” All the fired bullets missed Greseth.

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Britni de la Cretaz is a freelance writer, baseball enthusiast, and recovered alcoholic living in Boston. Follow her on Twitter at @britnidlc.