Police detail drug distribution case

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Local officials involved with the investigation and prosecution of Peter Noe and Timothy Schultz on methamphetamine distribution charges held a press conference today.

Noe and Schultz were convicted in federal court Monday and are awaiting sentencing.

In April of last year, law enforcement officials became aware of a distribution operation thanks to phone calls from local businesses.

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Austin Police Chief Paul Philipp said cooperation between federal, state and local officials was key to busting the operation, run by a gang from California called the Peckerwoods.

With only a small amount of narcotics to use as evidence, law enforcement had to find other links to get conspiracy convictions to stick.

Detective David Schaefer said a lot of evidence came from work between the Mower County Jail and the state gang strike force. The jail recorded numerous phone calls made by Noe from the jail to people in Austin and California. Noe tried to direct some of his operations from the jail, ordering drugs and setting up contacts.

They also used evidence of money wires totaling $180,000 between January 2000 and December 2002.

Evidence gathered from a number of witness help prosecutors as well, Mower County Attorney Patrick Flanagan said. He said prosecutors and law enforcement personnel proved that they were responsible in protecting witnesses.

"We are stronger than any gang out there," he said. "We can provide more protection than any gang out there can."

Flanagan said, however, there are still people in the community that are sympathetic with the pair and the gang.

Law enforcement agencies gained experience in dealing with cases such as these that will help in future problems, officials said. Experience in areas such as surveillance and using other charges such as weapons possession to help with prosecution will help in future cases, they said.

Matt Merritt can be reached at 434-2214 or by e-mail at matt.merritt@austindailyherald.com