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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 2015 award was presented to three deserving recipients:

  • Recognizing the harm that synthetic drugs were having on the Iowa City area, Detective Jerry Blomgren and Officer David Schwindt worked with several law enforcement entities and utilized a variety of investigative techniques to remove over 100 pounds of synthetic drugs from the street.They also participated in numerous community meetings providing education regarding the hazards of synthetic drugs.Through their efforts, synthetic drugs are now virtually non-existent in the Iowa City area.

  • As the supervisor of the Narcotics Division with the Cedar Rapids Police Department, Sgt. David Dostal has taken a leadership role in tackling the heroin problem that has plagued the Cedar Rapids community.In addition to presenting at schools, community groups, and youth academies regarding the dangers of heroin and other illicit drugs, Sgt. Dostal took the lead in a high-profile heroin case that resulted in two federal indictments and which seriously disrupted the heroin drug trade in the Cedar Rapids area.

Kevin W. Techau, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa, commented on this year’s award recipients, stating, “The communities these officers serve are safer because of their hard work and dedication.  They richly deserve the honor of being this year’s award recipients.”

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 December 2, 2015