By PETER HUSSMANN
Three Newton men charged for manufacturing more than a pound of methamphetamine in a "shake and bake" process at their local residences earlier this year face a maximum penalty of life in prison after being indicted by a federal grand jury in late April.
On Feb. 22, the Mid Iowa Narcotics Enforcement Task Force executed search warrants at two Newton residences that led to the arrest of Kevin Altemeier, 54, James Howell, 28, and Kyle Snodgrass, 41, on state charges of manufacturing and possessing methamphetamine.
Earlier this month, the Jasper County Attorney's office moved to have the state charges dismissed against the three after a federal grand jury indicted them on charges of conspiracy to manufacture drugs and manufacturing methamphetamine.
According the indictment, the three are accused of manufacturing "at least 500 grams of a mixture and substance containing methamphetamine."
Officials with the U.S. Attorney's Office in Des Moines said the maximum penalty each of the individuals face is life in prison and a maximum fine of $4 million. The minimum term on the charges is 10 years in prison.
Federal prison sentences are much more stringent than those handed down in state court.
A methamphetamine manufacturer sentenced to an Iowa sentence of no more than 25 years with a minimum sentence of one-third of the maximum would serve about 48 months prior to parole. The sentences are basically cut in half at entry into prison with prisoners receiving additional credits of 1.2 to 1.5 days for each day served.
In the federal system, good time credit is only one day a month of service. The same methamphetamine manufacturer sentenced in federal court to 10 years would generally serve nine years, eight months before being eligible for parole.
The Newton men are scheduled to stand trial on the federal charges in late June, though that trial date is likely to be continued.