News Release
April 9, 2008
Contact: Thomas E. Murphy
(314) 538-4660

Iowa Man Sentenced On Federal Drug Charges

APR 9 -- (Davenport, IA) - On April 7, 2008, Travis Lee SPITZNOGLE, age 39, formerly of Morning Sun, Iowa, was sentenced by United States District Court Judge John A. Jarvey to 121 months in federal prison and five years of supervised release, announced United States Attorney Matthew G. Whitaker. Spitznogle was sentenced after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute at least 500 grams of methamphetamine from July 24, 2006, to August 2, 2006. Spitznogle’s co-defendant and sister, Billy Marie Scarlett, has pled guilty and is awaiting sentencing.

On July 24, 2006, an Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement agent acting in an undercover capacity was introduced to Travis Lee Spitznogle, pursuant to prior arrangements to purchase one ounce of methamphetamine from Spitznogle. The narcotics agent went to Spitznogle's residence in Morning Sun, Iowa (Louisa County), and received approximately 27.61 grams of methamphetamine from Spitznogle. The narcotics agent paid Spitznogle $1,800 for the methamphetamine.

On July 28, 2006, the narcotics agent had several phone conversations with Spitznogle. During these conversations, Spitznogle stated he was waiting on his source to get more methamphetamine. Later that same day, the narcotics agent went to Spitznogle’s residence in Morning Sun. The narcotics agent received 27.44 grams of methamphetamine from Spitznogle in exchange for $1,800.00.

From July 29, 2006, to August 1, 2006, the narcotics agent and Spitznogle had several phone conversations. During these conversations, the narcotics agent requested a total of one pound of methamphetamine from Spitznogle. Spitznogle stated he would have to wait until meeting with his source before determining if he could agree to provide a full pound. Also, during these conversations, Spitznogle told the narcotics agent he would be leaving on August 1, 2006 to meet with his source.

On August 1, 2006, at approximately 5:00 p.m., DNE agents, members of the Southeast Iowa Narcotics Task Force, and other officers began surveillance on Spitznogle’s residence in Morning Sun. Officers observed an individual they identified as Spitznogle leave the residence in a black Grand Am automobile. Officers followed this vehicle to a residence in Marshalltown, Iowa. Narcotics agents in the Marshalltown area informed officers that this residence was associated with an female individual they knew as Billy Garcia. Officers later determined that this “Billy Garcia,” was the same person as Billy Marie Scarlett, Spitznogle’s sister and later a co-defendant in this case.

Officers observed the black Grand Am automobile arrive at the residence in Marshalltown, and Spitznogle and another subject get out and go inside the residence. A short time later, officers observed the same two subjects come out of the residence and drive away in the black Grand Am. During this time, the narcotics agent received a phone call from Spitznogle stating that they were staying overnight and bringing the drugs to him the next morning. Officers later observed the black Grand Am driving east bound on Interstate 80.

On August 2, 2006, the narcotics agent received a phone call from Spitznogle who stated that the drugs were coming in that morning and asked him to get the money together. Later that morning, the narcotics agent had a phone conversation with Spitznogle and Spitznogle stated that the drugs were there and that his sister and another female were at the residence. The narcotics agent arrived at Spitznogle’s residence in Morning Sun. The narcotics agent went inside and met with Spitznogle, who appeared to be the only person in the residence at the time. The narcotics agent observed Spitznogle go into a back room and come back out with a clear plastic baggie of methamphetamine. The narcotics agent put the baggie on a scale and it weighed out to 419.1 grams of methamphetamine. At that time other officers entered the residence and placed Spitznogle in custody. Approximately ten minutes later, officers observed a blue Dodge Spirit returning to the residence. Officers observed the vehicle stop and begin to back up before officers were able to stop the vehicle. The driver of this vehicle was identified as Billy Marie Scarlett. The address on the driver’s license matched the residence in Marshalltown where officers observed Spitznogle on August 1, 2006. Inside the trunk of this vehicle, officers seized 228.3 grams of methamphetamine.

Officers had obtained a state search warrant for Spitznogle’s residence in Morning Sun. After Spitznogle’s arrest, officers searched the residence. Several items were seized including approximately four grams of purported methamphetamine on Spitznogle’s person and an additional 215.6 grams of purported methamphetamine in a coat hanging inside the residence.

This case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa. This investigation was conducted by the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, the Southeast Iowa Narcotics Task Force, the Muscatine County Drug Task Force, the Johnson County Narcotics Task Force, the Louisa County Sheriff’s Office, the Des Moines County Sheriff’s Office, the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office, the Tama County Sheriff’s Office, the Burlington Police Department, and the West Burlington Police Department.