Public Safety

Cedar Rapids man convicted on federal heroin charges

Devontae Horton
Devontae Horton

CEDAR RAPIDS — A Cedar Rapids man was convicted last week on federal charges stemming from his role in a heroin distribution ring.

After a three-day jury trial, Devontae Horton, 25, was found guilty Wednesday of conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin and distribution of heroin.

According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Iowa, evidence at trial showed that between about June 2015 and April 2019, Horton — and up to 12 others — conspired to distribute heroin in the Cedar Rapids area.

The group was known as the “Ferrari” group, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The members used one phone number, known as the “Ferrari phone,” to arrange and conduct heroin transactions. At times, 10 to 20 people a day called the phone to buy heroin.

In October 2018, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Cedar Rapids police attempted to stop a vehicle occupied by Horton and another member of the Ferrari group, Jarel Williams. Horton and Williams attempted to get away, eventually running on foot. Police caught up with both men and found more than $3,000 in cash in Horton’s front pocket. The cash was drug money, according to the news release.

In November 2018, investigators used a confidential source to arrange a purchase of heroin. The source contacted Jarel Williams at what was believed to be the “Ferrari phone,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Williams agreed to sell the source a half-gram of heroin. Horton arrived instead and provided the confidential source about a half-gram of heroin for $80.

Evidence showed that Horton and Williams had operated like this on at least five other occasions. Multiple witnesses testified that Horton had provided them heroin in the past.

Horton is in federal custody until he can be sentenced. A sentencing date has not yet been set.


Williams previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute 1,000 grams or more of heroin and distribution of heroin.

Williams also will be sentenced at a later date.

Six other members of the group also were charged, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. All six previously pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.

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