Public Safety

Cedar Rapids man sentenced to nearly 14 years for distributing heroin and fentanyl

CEDAR RAPIDS — A Cedar Rapids man was sentenced Wednesday to nearly 14 years in federal prison for distributing heroin mixed with fentanyl.

Reginald Love, 28, formerly of Chicago, pleaded guilty May 6 in U.S. District Court to one count of distribution of heroin and fentanyl. In a plea agreement, he admitted to selling $80 of heroin to a person, who was a confidential informant, on Nov. 21, 2018.

A few days later on Nov. 26, the informant again contacted Love and purchased more heroin for $80, the plea shows. The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation lab, in testing later, found this heroin and the one in the earlier buy also contained fentanyl.

Drug Enforcement Administration agents searched Love’s home Nov. 30 and recovered several plastic bags with missing corners, other plastic bags not cut and a digital scale, according to the plea.

Love has two previous felony convictions in Illinois that qualified as predicate offenses, deeming Love a career offender and enhancing his prison time.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Dan Chatham said Love’s criminal history showed he was an “extreme danger” to reoffend. He started committing violent crimes at age 16 with assault and battery and was a member of the Disciples street gang in Chicago at age 19. He then committed a burglary at 20 and served time in a boot camp.

Chatham said a few years later Love had two convictions for distributing marijuana, was paroled in 2014 and then convicted again in 2015 for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

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Love was sentenced to four years in prison for the firearm offense, then paroled in late 2017. He moved to Iowa and started distributing heroin and fentanyl. The two incidents in the plea were not his only sales, Chatham added.

Diane Helphrey, Love’s attorney, asked U.S. District Judge C.J. Williams to go below the advisory sentencing, saying the career offender status was “disproportionate to the record” in this case. Most of his criminal history was when he was younger and lacked impulse control, she said.

Love, during the hearing, thanked his mother and stepfather for supporting him, and he apologized to the community for his actions. He wants to use the time in prison to change his life, he added.

Williams called Love’s criminal history “troubling,” combined with his lack of employment and education. Love dropped out of school and doesn’t have a GED, he noted.

Williams disagreed with Helphrey, saying Love’s criminal history did fit the career offender status.

He sentenced Love to 166 months in federal prison and three years of supervised release following his prison term.

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

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