CEDAR RAPIDS — The last defendant pleaded Monday in a marijuana robbery that led to the fatal shooting of a 20-year-old Cedar Rapids man in 2017.
Cameron Klouda, 22, of Coggon, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to one count of conspiracy to distribute marijuana and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. During Monday’s plea hearing, he admitted to agreeing with others to distribute marijuana and that another co-conspirator used, brandished or discharged a firearm during the drug deal that ended with Dylan Plotz’s death on Feb. 1, 2017.
U.S. Magistrate Mark Roberts asked Klouda if he understood that he can be held liable for his co-defendants’ actions, and Klouda said he understood.
Roberts told Klouda he faces up to five years on the distributing charge and a mandatory minimum of 10 years and up to life on the firearms charge.
As part of the plea agreement, which is sealed, Klouda waived certain appeal rights and may be ordered at sentencing to pay restitution to Plotz’s family.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa Williams asked the court to hold Klouda in jail until his sentencing, and the judge agreed. He had been free on a recognizance bond and other conditions pending trial. His sentencing date hasn't been set.
Five men, including Klouda, were charged with robbery, drugs or gun charges, but according to testimony during previous hearings, authorities cannot determine who fired the 20-gauge shotgun that killed Plotz, a Jefferson High School graduate.
During previous hearings, investigators testified that Plotz, Dillon Beener, 21, and Kordell Jones, 19, both of Cedar Rapids, traveled from Cedar Rapids to 20-year-old Chase Zerba’s home in rural Coggon where they planned to rob Zerba of a half-pound of marijuana. A juvenile was driving the car but wasn’t charged.
Plotz was armed with a .40-caliber pistol, according to testimony.
Zerba asked friends Klouda and Tyler Clemens, 24, of Alburnett, to come to his home in case something went wrong. Clemens and Zerba took a shotgun from the house, and Clemens loaded and carried it to a minivan outside where they waited to make the drug deal, according to authorities. Klouda was armed with a knife.
After discussing the price of marijuana, Plotz, who was outside the van with Beener and Jones, pointed his gun at Zerba, authorities said. According to testimony, Zerba then yelled “Pull it up,” and Clemens raised the shotgun and discharged it.
When authorities arrived, they found Plotz dead with a shotgun wound to the face.
Despite testimony that Clemens fired the gun, authorities say they haven’t determined who pulled the trigger.
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