Public Safety

Iowa man deported from China charged with importing synthetic drugs

If convicted, Levi Wallace faces up to 44 years

CEDAR RAPIDS — An Iowa man, who was deported from China in June, will remain in jail pending trial on charges of importing and distributing synthetic drugs.

Levi Wallace, 32, of Long Grove in Scott County, was indicted in January 2011. But the indictment wasn’t unsealed until June 25, when he was arrested in the Central District of California, following his deportation from China, where he had been living since 2010.

Wallace is charged with one count each of importation of an analogue controlled substance, use of the U.S. Postal Service to facilitate a drug crime, and attempted possession with intent to distribute a mixture or substance containing 4-methylmethcathinone, also known as mephedrone — a psychoactive drug commonly referred to as bath salts.

Prosecutors said Chinese authorities deported Wallace on June 24. Wallace had hearings in federal court in California, which resulted in his detention.

If convicted, Wallace faces up to 44 years in federal prison, a $2.2 million fine and nine years of supervised release following any prison term.

Wallace appeared Thursday in U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids, and a judge ruled he will remain in jail pending trial. His trial is set for Sept. 23.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Reinert and was investigated by the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force, the Linn County Sheriff's Office, the Cedar Rapids and Marion police departments, and the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement.

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