Public Safety

Federal jury convicts leader of Cedar Rapids heroin ring

Faces 20 to life in prison

CEDAR RAPIDS — A man who led a heroin ring for many years in Cedar Rapids known as “We the Best” was convicted by a jury Monday in federal court following a five day trial.

A jury deliberated for about three hours before finding Antonio Alonzo Outlaw, 40, of Chicago and Cedar Rapids, guilty of conspiring to distribute a kilogram or more of heroin and aiding and abetting the distribution of heroin.

Evidence at trial showed that Outlaw ran a heroin distribution operation in Cedar Rapids since at least 2013, and continued until January of this year. Witnesses testified that Outlaw’s operation was commonly known to customers as “We the Best” because of a signature line included on text messages sent out by members of the drug ring.

After making a phone call to the “We the Best” phone number, customers would meet with Outlaw or one of his “runners” to purchase the heroin, according to testimony.

Outlaw previously pleaded guilty in September to two counts of distributing heroin in 2013.

Outlaw faces 20 years and up to life in federal prison. He also faces up to $23 million in fines and lifetime supervised release following his prison time.

The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force, which includes the DEA; the Linn County Sheriff’s Office; the Cedar Rapids, Marion and Iowa City police departments; and the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement.

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