Manager of large drug trafficking ring related to Chris Bagley's death sentenced to nearly 8 years

Prosecutor said Chris Bagley's slaying is 'direct result' of#xa0;drug trafficking

Andrew Shaw
Andrew Shaw

CEDAR RAPIDS — The manager of a large marijuana trafficking ring, who supplied marijuana to Chris Bagley and two men accused of killing him during a fight over drug robberies, was sentenced Friday to nearly eight years in federal prison.

U.S. District Judge C.J. Williams said Andrew T. Shaw, 31, of Cedar Rapids, was involved in a “dangerous, dangerous game” — drug trafficking for the last 10 years. He had guns because of the nature of the business and told others he wanted to harm Bagley, 31, of Walker.

Williams said there’s no evidence Shaw put out a “hit” on Bagley, but Shaw’s threats may have motivated others who fatally stabbed Bagley in December 2018.

Shaw, convicted of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and possession of a firearm by a drug user, declined to say anything during the hearing.

Defense attorney John Jacobsen asked for a sentence of 81 months, saying Shaw wasn’t responsible for Bagley’s death.

The court accepted letters of support for Shaw from family members and friends, who were not allowed in the courtroom. Neither was Bagley’s family.

The families were kept out of the courtroom to maintain social distancing amid the COVID-19 outbreak. One family was in a jury room and the other was in another courtroom, where they had audio of the hearing.

The press — a Gazette reporter and a reporter with a local television station — were the only ones in the gallery, which is more than 6 feet from the prosecution, defense, judge and court reporter.

Shaw faced up to 11 years in prison, but the judge settled on 94 months.

Stewart Bagley of Independence, Chris Bagley’s father, said after the hearing his “family is not pleased with the eight-year sentence, minus the year he’s already served in jail.”

He was hoping for at least 10 years.

Stewart Bagley said Shaw “put the word out that he wanted Chris harmed or assaulted” and then two people who worked for Shaw are charged for fatally stabbing him.

“In our eyes, Shaw’s the man that set that in motion, and that makes him just as responsible,” Stewart Bagley said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tony Morfitt asked the judge to sentence Shaw to the top of the guideline range because of the trafficking operation, which imported large quantities of marijuana from California and Colorado to Cedar Rapids, according to court documents.

Morfitt also cited Shaw’s use of credible threats of violence against Bagley because Bagley robbed him of cash, drugs and firearms. Shaw then told others he wanted to “beat” Bagley.

Two men — Drew Blahnik and Drew Wagner — knew of Shaw’s “desire” to kill Bagley, which they are accused of doing during a fight over drug robberies, Morfitt said.

Morfitt said Bagley’s fatal stabbing was the “direct result” of Shaw’s drug trafficking.

Blahnik, 32, and Wagner, 34, are charged in Linn County District Court with first-degree murder and other charges in Bagley’s death.

A Drug Enforcement Administration task force and Marion police officer testified during the sentencing about evidence of drug trafficking found during a search of Shaw’s business, A. Shaw Investments, 1190 Capital Dr. SW in Cedar Rapids.

Officer Adam Cirkl said investigators tracked large packages of marijuana sent from California to Shaw. The packages were sent in January and February to various addresses and were picked up by another man, who wasn’t charged, and delivered to Shaw’s business.

During the investigation, investigators found that Shaw started focusing his marijuana trafficking business on making and selling marijuana edibles and THC cartridges in 2017.

When his properties were searched last March, authorities found large amounts of materials used to make marijuana gummies. They also found large amounts of THC cartridges, which contain an oil made from marijuana that can be used in vaping pens.

During a hearing last year, Cirkl said investigators also searched Shaw’s home at 1419 Grizzly Dr. NW and found weapons, THC cartridges that contained THC oil for vaping, and $35,000 in cash.

Also during that hearing in April, a federal agent revealed details of how and possibly why Bagley was found buried March 1, 2019, after he disappeared in December.

Shaw also faces a civil forfeiture in which prosecutors are asking the court for property that includes $19,322 in cash; a 2012 Chevrolet Camaro SS; a 2003 Ford Mustang GT G; a 2010 GMC Terrain SLT-2; a man’s Rolex watch; and six other luxury men’s watches, according to court documents.

The items were seized by law enforcement March 26 during the search of Shaw’s home and business.

Under federal law, proceeds from drug trafficking are subject to forfeiture.

Shaw told authorities the items seized were either proceeds from his marijuana distribution, property involved in his distribution activity or furnished in exchange for drugs.

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