Dean Loew
Dean Loew
February 7, 2014

An accused drug dealer who needs psychiatric treatment before he can adequately defend himself against numerous felony charges will get the treatment in an eastern Iowa prison, a judge ruled Thursday.

Dean Loew, 46, formerly of Carroll, allegedly sold marijuana and high-purity methamphetamine at a rural Arcadia farmstead twice last year under surveillance of local law officers. He is charged with seven drug-related felonies.

A Des Moines-area psychiatrist evaluated Loew last month and found that he suffers from an unspecified mental disorder that "prevents the defendant from appreciating the charges, understanding the proceedings, or assisting effectively in the defense of the pending charges against him," according to court documents.

Loew's attorney, Robert Peterson, of Carroll, had asked that Loew be released from Carroll County Jail - where he has been held for more than two months on a $100,000 cash bond - to seek the mental-health treatment, but County Attorney John Werden, who is prosecuting the case, said Loew "poses a danger to the public peace or safety" and should remain confined.

Loew has allegedly threatened physical harm to people who aided law officers in his investigation and arrest.

On Thursday, District Judge Gary McMinimee ruled that Loew will be treated for up to 18 months at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center, a prison in Oakdale.

Prison psychiatrists will provide status reports every one or two months about whether Loew's unspecified condition is improving.

After the 18-month period, Loew's felony charges might be dismissed if he is still unable to stand trial. Werden could then request an indefinite civil commitment for further treatment and has the option to reinstate the charges if "it appears thereafter that the defendant has regained competency," according to state law.

Loew faces felony charges for delivery of methamphetamine and marijuana, possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver, and drug-related tax violations. They are punishable by up to 95 years in prison if he is convicted.