Drug Tax | Iowa law requires dealers to first pay taxes before selling illegal drugs

Drug Tax – Stephanie Hilgenberg was seven and a half months pregnant and the mother of a 12-year-old when police pulled her over three years ago on Des Moines’ east side to search her house and car.

Earlier in the day, they had recorded a controlled drug buy with a wired informant. Officers found a scale, $4,716 in her purse and 306 grams of methamphetamine worth what she estimates was about $5,200 on the street at the time.

Hilgenberg was released on bond in a day. A week after she was arrested, Iowa’s Department of Revenue got wind of her arrest and began looking for the Des Moines dealer for failing to affix a state-issued stamp showing she had paid a tax on the meth she’d been selling.

Hilgenberg didn’t find out about the amount she owed until she won a $1,990 jackpot at Prairie Meadows five months later and it was seized.

“I was devastated,” she said. “At first, I thought there’s no way they could do this. I hadn’t even been found guilty.”

Here’s what the agency told her she owed: $76,500 for the drug excise tax and a $76,500 penalty, plus interest — almost 30 times the value of the meth she was caught with.

Read the full story at the Des Moines Register.