Public Safety

Cedar Rapids man arrested for extorting school aide he sold drugs to

ELDORA – A former Iowa State Training School for Boys student from Cedar Rapids has been arrested for allegedly blackmailing a school employee to whom he sold prescription drugs.

Eddie Ayers III, 24, of Cedar Rapids, was arrested Oct. 20 following an Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation. He is charged with ongoing criminal conduct and eight counts of extortion. Bond was set at $65,000.

Court documents identify the victim only by initials and don’t disclose her employer, but the facts coincide with Iowa Unemployment Insurance Appeals Bureau records surrounding the firing of Kelly Reed who worked at the school.

Unemployment appeals records indicate Reed had been suffering from chronic pain and at the time, and the former student allegedly sold her medication outside of school. She allegedly paid for the drugs in person and through wire transfers.

After the transactions, in July 2018, Ayers began sending text messages to Reed, threatening to expose her to school officials and the media if she didn’t pay him, according to court records.

She paid Ayers using Western Union and Walmart wire transfers in July, August, October, November and December 2018, according to court records. Payments ranged from $350 to $1,500 each and totaled about $4,900, record state.

In February 2019, Ayers renewed demands, and Reed told school officials about the blackmail scheme. She was suspended without pay during the investigation and then terminated the following month, according to court records.

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Ayers contacted her again in April 2019, and when she didn’t respond to his texts, he allegedly called school officials and inquired about what would happen to employees who purchased drugs from students, records state. Ayers also sent her a text message showing a screen shot from KCRG-TV’s Facebook page asking the news outlet to cover the matter, records state.

•Comments: Jeff Reinitz - jeff.reinitz@wcfcourier.com

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