116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS - A Burlington man was charged this week with operating a large-scale methamphetamine trafficking ring - with two others charged last year - between Cedar Rapids and Burlington.
Corey Lowery, 42, was charged Monday in U.S. District Court with one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.
U.S. District Magistrate Judge Mark Roberts, during his initial appearance, ruled Lowery will remain in jail, as requested by prosecutors, pending a preliminary and detention hearing on Friday.
Lowery is accused of operating a meth distribution ring with George Ashby, 60, and Henry Eilders, 42, of Cedar Rapids, beginning in August 2018 through March of last year. Ashby and Eilders, who were charged last year, distributed drugs in Cedar Rapids, oversaw dealers, collected money and purchased large amounts of meth from Lowery in Burlington.
During the investigation, after a controlled buy through a confidential informant was made from Ashby in 2018 for meth, a search was conducted in May 2019 of his apartment on First Avenue SE in Cedar Rapids, according to a search warrant affidavit. There had been complaints of narcotics use and drug buys within the building.
During a traffic stop on Ashby before the search, police saw Ashby drop four plastic bags out of the driver's side window as he pulled over. The bags contained a total of 74.8 grams of meth. Police also seized $3,700 in cash from Ashby's vehicle, $126 from his pocket and a cellphone.
Ashby admitted his supply of 'methamphetamine loads” came from Burlington, and he referred to his source as his 'cousin” but didn't provide further details, according to the complaint.
In the search of Ashby's apartment, investigators found items consistent with drug trafficking and drug use, including digital scales, a drug ledger and a glass meth pipe, the complaint states.
In a July 2019 interview with a confidential source, law enforcement received information about Lowery selling large quantities of meth in Burlington, according to the complaint. The informant had witnessed Lowery receiving $15,000 in cash for a drug debt during one incident.
In November 2019, investigators conducted surveillance on Eilders who met with Lowery. Investigators believed Lowery provided Eilders with meth and Eilders paid Lowery a 'substantial” amount of money that Lowery 'fronted” for drugs.
During a search of Lowery's residence in Burlington, where he distributed meth, police seized drug paraphernalia, marijuana, three pistols and two bulletproof vests.
Last year, a search also was conducted of Eilders' residence on Belmont Parkway NW in Cedar Rapids. About 860 grams of meth was found, along with a pistol, marijuana, drug paraphernalia and ammunition, the complaint states.
Lowery's residence in Burlington was searched again in September of last year, after Ashby and Eilders were indicted on a charge of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, and a controlled buy was made for crack cocaine at the residence, according to the complaint. Investigators this time found about 167 grams of meth, packaging materials and scales.
Lowery has previous drug convictions in Illinois and Des Moines County, according to the complaint.
Eilders has been convicted and will be sentenced April 2. Ashby's trial has been reset to May 10.
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