Marshall County
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Lock up those Anhydrous Tanks

January 9, 2007

Marshall County and the State of Iowa - Marshall County Sheriff Ted G. Kamatchus urges local farmers and Anhydrous Distributors to lock up the portable tanks left in the fields.

The next 3 months will be an important time for farmers to partner with local law enforcement. Marshall County Iowa Sheriff Ted G. Kamatchus wants to remind farmers in central Iowa to "lock up those tanks".

The Anhydrous Ammonia Nurse Tank Lock Program was developed in Iowa in 2003. Marshall County was one of the first counties to participate in the grant program which funded locking devices for all nurse tanks in the county.

The state of Iowa had partnered with local law enforcement and NH3 retailers to implement a program which will eventually lock all the nurse tanks in Iowa. To fund the program, the Governor's Office of Drug Control Policy with the help of Senator Harkin, sought grants through the COPS Methamphetamine Initiative.

Summary of grant funding: 

  • FFY 2002 - $200,000 (purchased 4,605 locks in 26 counties)
  • FFY 2004 - $296,843 (purchased 6,662 locks in 25 counties)
  • FFY 2005 - $295,993 (purchased 6,534 locks in 23 counties)
  • FFY 2006 - $296,168 (expect to purchase an additional 6,600)
  • Locks are purchased on contract for $43.43 each

In 2005, the Governor's Office of Drug Control Policy surveyed sheriffs in participating counties and found that when retailers are conscientious about using the locks they virtually eliminate anhydrous thefts.

Counties that participated in the initial offering of locks experienced a very different rate of clandestine laboratory growth when compared to the unlocked counties:

  • Locked counties reported a 5% decrease in clan labs (2002-2004)
  • Unlocked counties reported a 113% increase in clan labs (2002-2004)

The Agribusiness Association of Iowa recently surveyed its members regarding the use and effectiveness of locks. Eighty percent of the respondents reported that the locks are effective. Only 4% reported the locks to be ineffective. The remaining 16% do not have locks

Of those who have locks installed 78% indicated that thieves had not attempted/were unsuccessful in defeating the locks. Nineteen percent reported that they were "on occasion defeated" and 3% reported thieves "regularly" defeat the lock.

About Marshall County Sheriff's Office
The Marshall County, Iowa Sheriff's Office is headed up by Sheriff Ted G. Kamatchus. Sheriff Kamatchus is committed to keeping communities and neighborhoods safe in Marshall County.

For additional information or a sample copy, contact:
Sheriff Ted G. Kamatchus
Marshall County Sheriff's Office
Fax 641-754-6325

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This webpage was printed on April 13, 2021. For the most current information, visit the Marshall County, Iowa, Sheriff website at
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