Judge sentences leader in ice meth trafficking ring to 15 years in prison

Toledo man was part of conspiracy involving seven others

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CEDAR RAPIDS — The last defendant in a large-scale ice methamphetamine trafficking ring in Eastern Iowa was sentenced Wednesday to 15 years in federal prison, which was less time than he originally faced — 30 years to life.

Kyle Chyma, 29, of Toledo, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in April to conspiracy to distribute meth and money laundering. Chyma was a leader or supervisor in a drug conspiracy that involved seven other co-conspirators and spanned four years from 2012 through August 2016.

U.S. District Chief Judge Leonard Strand sentenced Chyma to the 15 years, following a short discussion with attorneys in closed court. The judge noted Chyma was a leader or manager in the conspiracy and was importing meth from a cartel in Mexico. Chyma was responsible for distributing more than 9 pounds of methamphetamine and also cocaine, he added.

U.S. Attorney Ravi Narayan argued Chyma’s prison time should be increased because a handgun was found in the car he was driving at the time of his arrest last year, and based on his criminal history, which included 12 previous convictions.

Al Willett, Chyma’s lawyer, argued his client didn’t own the gun in the car, which was a rental and used by others. He also argued Chyma wasn’t arrested until October 2016, which is after the time frame of the drug conspiracy and prosecutors haven’t proven that he used the gun in the drug conspiracy.

Willett also asked the court to consider that much of Chyma’s criminal history is a result of his substance addiction.

Narayan said Chyma is facing this prison time because he sold drugs, not because he used drugs. As a leader, he made sure midlevel dealers received the drugs they needed and he profited $50,000 from the conspiracy.

Strand didn’t enhance Chyma’s penalty for the gun, but said Chyma’s criminal history was a factor and he thinks Willett “overstated” Chyma’s substance abuse issue.

Chyma’s involvement in the conspiracy was more “for-profit,” Strand said.

Chyma, during the hearing, admitted he made some “bad decisions” and apologized to the communities of Tama, Toledo and Marshalltown — where drugs were sold — as well as to his family.

Chyma was also ordered to forfeit $50,000 as illegal proceeds made in the conspiracy. He also will serve five years on supervised release following his prison time.

The other six co-defendants have been sentenced and are serving 15 months to 21 years for their involvement. The eighth defendant remains a fugitive.

Each of the defendants were ordered to forfeit proceeds from drug sales, which totaled $350,000.

l Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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