Public Safety

Cedar Rapids man sentenced to 25 years in prison for distributing heroin

Two people had near fatal overdoses from opioids

CEDAR RAPIDS — A Cedar Rapids man who distributed heroin to two people that resulted in near-fatal overdoses was sentenced this week to 25 years in federal prison.

Jason Bates, 44, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court last August to possessing heroin with intent to distribute near a protected location and of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

He also pleaded March 21 of this year to distributing heroin resulting in serious bodily injury.

In a plea agreement, Bates admitted he distributed at least 110 grams of heroin during two months in 2018. He also admitted to selling about a quarter of a gram of heroin on March 16, 2018, that resulted in the user losing consciousness.

When first responders arrived, they found the user unconscious and breathing only four to six times per minute. They administered Narcan, and the person regained consciousness and breathing function.

According to court documents, federal officers executed a search warrant in April 2018 at Bates’ home. Bates threw a baggie containing 32.66 grams of a mixture of heroin, fentanyl and acetyl fentanyl out a window when officers arrived.

Officers also recovered nearly $2,000 in cash, a loaded .40-caliber pistol, digital scales, an empty box for another handgun and 33 rounds of ammunition.

The .pistol had been reported stolen after a 2016 home burglary, prosecutors said.

Evidence at sentencing showed Bates sold another person a half gram of a mixture containing heroin and fentanyl in September 2015. The man injected himself and his girlfriend and both lost consciousness.

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The girlfriend remained unconscious for hours and eventually her lips began to turn blue. Her boyfriend then drove her to a park in Cedar Rapids, propped her up against a tree, called 911 and waited in the area for first responders to arrive before he left, prosecutors said.

The girlfriend was admitted to a hospital, and during her hospital stay she had multiple seizures and a stroke, which caused potentially permanent problems with her balance and vision, prosecutors said.

U.S. District Chief Judge Leonard Stand, during sentencing, also ordered Bates serve six years of supervised release following prison.

This case was prosecuted by assistant U.S. attorneys Jusine Lightfoot and Dan Chatham, and investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force consisting of the DEA, the Linn County Sheriff’s Office, Cedar Rapids and Marion police and the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement.

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

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