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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — A Vinton man who conspired with 10 others to distribute heroin, fentanyl and other synthetic opioids was convicted Friday in federal court.
Ryan Rick Schlitter, 39, pleaded in U.S. District Court to one count of conspiracy to distribute heroin.
According to a plea agreement, Schlitter admitted that he obtained distribution quantities of heroin through a group of heroin dealers based out of Cedar Rapids. The conspiracy among the 11 people began in 2017. Between February and May of last year, a federal wiretap investigation began on phones of two others charged in the conspiracy. Investigators intercepted calls between one of the other dealers and an associate of Schlitter’s.
After the intercepted calls, Schlitter and his associate drove to meet with the dealer at a location in southwest Cedar Rapids, where investigators set up surveillance, according to the plea. The associate purchased over 7 grams of a substance containing heroin, fentanyl and the synthetic opioids.
Police officers then made a traffic stop and seized the drugs, which were purchased for Schlitter, who intended to distribute them to others, the plea states.
Schlitter also admitted, in the plea, that in June he sold $200 worth of a substance containing heroin, acetyl fentanyl and fentanyl to federal agents during an undercover operation, also in southwest Cedar Rapids.
Schlitter remains in jail pending sentencing. He faces up to 20 years in prison, $1 million fine and a lifetime on supervised release following his prison term.
Others charged in the conspiracy are Brian J. Dennis; Demico D. Irvin; Deakota L. Shields; Thomas N. May; Cody S. Deklotz; Andrew J. Leyman; Taylor J. Leyden; Melinda Slavatora Werning; Jerry D. Banghart; and David M. Nelson. Schlitter is the first defendant of the 11 to plead, according to court documents.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Dan Chatham and investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force consisting of the DEA; Linn County Sheriff's Office; Cedar Rapids and Marion police; and the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement.
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