Public Safety

Cedar Rapids man sentenced to 15 years in prison for distributing heroin

CEDAR RAPIDS — A judge sentenced a Cedar Rapids man to 15 years in federal prison Monday for being part of a heroin distribution group that sold to 80 customers and made 20 sales a day for at least five months.

Garland Lightfoot, 28, pleaded guilty in June to distributing and aiding and abetting in the distribution of heroin. He admitted during Monday’s hearing in U.S. District Court that he was part of a larger distribution group — called Ferrari — that made 20 sales a day of $40, 1-gram bags of heroin.

U.S. District Senior Judge Linda Reade asked Lightfoot to admit he was part of the group, explaining to him that he is responsible not only for the amount he distributed but for what others in the conspiracy sold.

Two other men, Eddy Watt and Rolando Brown, were also part of the group and have been convicted of distribution charges, according to court documents.

Lightfoot admitted to being involved with the distribution from February through April 12.

Cory Goldensoph, Lightfoot’s lawyer, sought less prison time, noting that Lightfoot had some work history and was making $30,000 a year at age 17 as a barber. He said he pointed that out to show Lightfoot had “potential when he has direction and guidance.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin Lightfoot, who is not related to the defendant, argued against less prison time, noting the defendant was part of the “sophisticated” group where each offender took turns answering a single phone customers would call, then delivering the heroin with a partner. The group also changed phone numbers on multiple occasions to avoid detection by law enforcement.

Court documents show the group also had a “stash house” within 1,000 feet of an elementary school where the dealers would store heroin.

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Justin Lightfoot also noted the defendant’s prior drug convictions and one conviction that included assault of a woman.

Garland Lightfoot apologized to the court and his family, who attended the hearing, for “putting them through this.”

Judge Reade said there was no basis for reducing the sentence below federal guidelines. She said Garland Lightfoot wasn’t a heroin user, so he wasn’t selling to support his habit. He was “in it for the money,” she said.

She also noted Garland Lightfoot was at “extremely” high risk to return to crime.

Reade sentenced him to 188 months, which is at the bottom of the guideline range. She also ordered him to serve six years of supervised release.

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

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