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Red Ribbon Week

Red Ribbon Week is a national drug awareness campaign that is held every year from October 23 - 31st. It began in 1985 in memory of Special Agent Enrique Camarena of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Camarena was abducted in February 1985, by Mexican drug traffickers while he was investigating a multi-billion dollar drug scam. He was beaten, tortured, and killed. Because of his belief that one person can make a difference, his sacrifice was recognized by Congress to honor him and all those who fight substance abuse. Millions of children and adults are asked to wear red ribbons to promote and celebrate a drug-free lifestyle.

Our office joins the DEA in sponsoring the Enrique Camarena award during Red Ribbon Week. The award is given every year to a law enforcement officer who has truly exemplified making a difference in the lives of young people through drug prevention. A nomination form is sent out every fall to all law enforcement agencies in the state.

The 2017 award was presented to two deserving recipients:

United States Postal Inspector William (Kevin) Marshall has worked tirelessly to reduce drug abuse in the State of Iowa, and is a worthy recipient of this distinguished award. In just the past year, Inspector Marshall has assisted in over 120 drug-related operations with nearly 40 different law enforcement agencies, resulting in the seizure and removal of nearly 80 pounds of methamphetamine, 90 pounds of marijuana, 4 pounds of cocaine, and over 4 pounds of heroin. In addition, Inspector Marshall was instrumental in developing a demonstrative exhibit labeled "What You Don’t See," which teaches parents how to recognize signs of teenage drug abuse. Inspector Marshall is a mentor to young people, speaks about the dangers of drug abuse to students, and has continually demonstrated his passion for reducing drug abuse within the State of Iowa.

Decorah Police Officer Christopher Wuebker’s commitment to reducing drug abuse through both enforcement and prevention makes him a worthy recipient of the Enrique Camarena Award. Through his service as a Decorah Police Officer and as a member of the Northeast Iowa Drug Task Force, Officer Wuebker played a critical role in over 100 drug-related prosecutions in northeast Iowa in the past few years. Recognizing the danger and difficulties facing children in homes where drug abuse is present, Officer Wuebker goes out of his way to connect children with resources they need to improve their situation. Officer Wuebker increases public awareness of drug abuse by speaking at schools and community organizations. His extraordinary passion for reducing drug abuse has made a difference in the lives of many young people, and has contributed to a safer community.

Federal prosecutors in this office are willing to speak to schools and organizations regarding the hazards of drug abuse.  If you would like someone to speak to your school or organization during Red Ribbon Week, or at any other time, please contact Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin Lightfoot at

Updated August 3, 2018

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