Second Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Heroin Charges
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa --- A second man pleaded guilty Thursday to federal heroin charges in connection with the November death of a Waterloo resident.
Mark Wilson-Bey, 45, of Calumet City, Ill., admitted committing conspiracy to deliver 100 grams or more of heroin during a hearing in U.S. District Court. He faces up to life in prison and an $8 million fine.
According to court records, Wilson-Bey was bringing heroin from Chicago to sell in Waterloo and was the source that Tai-Lin Phillips used when he died. Authorities said crack cocaine, heroin and alcohol were factors in Phillips' death.
According to relatives, Phillips, 41, was not a heroin addict but had had an earlier problem with crack.
Another person indicted following the Phillips' death, Vonvetta Leroy "Von" Sawyers, 39, pleaded guilty in May and also is awaiting sentencing.
Wilson-Bey served time for prior crack cocaine arrests. He began traveling to Waterloo to sell heroin shortly after his release from a federal prison in January 2010, apparently violating probation terms confining him to northern Illinois, according to court records.
He claimed to witnesses bringing about 50 grams of the drug on each trip from Chicago. Court records allege Wilson-Bey diluted the drug before selling to customers and lower-level dealers in Waterloo.
Records show local narcotics agents had Wilson-Bey under surveillance in late 2011 before Phillips' death and had arranged controlled buys using an informant.
The informant bought three bags of heroin from Wilson-Bey for $100.
On Nov. 3, the informant then bought $300 worth of heroin from Wilson-Bey, according to records. The transaction took place at an Elm Street home where a relative of Wilson-Bey lived.
Later that day, police and paramedics were called to Phillips' apartment on Lafayette Street and found him unconscious.
The following day, Wilson-Bey and the informant discussed the death. Wilson-Bey allegedly said he planned to sell his heroin at a reduced price and to leave town when his supply was gone.
The informant arranged to buy drugs from Wilson-Bey at a Logan Avenue grocery store, and police detained him during a traffic stop.
A review of his phone records found a number of calls and text messages to other Waterloo-area heroin dealers and users, including Katina McKenzie-Jackson, Arthur Scott, Sawyers and Lewis "Junior" Bolden.
Scott and Bolden also have been indicted on federal heroin charges.
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