Heroin Distributor Pleads Guilty in federal court

User died from drug that suspect distributed, according to plea agreement

By Trish Mehaffey, The Gazette

A Cedar Rapids man accused of distributing heroin to another person who died from using the drug pleaded guilty this week in federal court.

Austin Allen Martens, 24, pleaded guilty Monday to one count of distributing heroin.

During the plea hearing, Martens admitted that he distributed $80 worth of heroin to another individual in March 2013.

According to the plea agreement, the user was found dead the next day, having overdosed on the heroin Martens distributed. The syringe still had heroin in it when the death was discovered.

Martens had been a distributor and user of heroin since 2011 in Cedar Rapids, according to the plea agreement. Martens worked with “L.J.” in 2011 to conduct heroin transactions and set up transactions between other dealers and users. Since 2011, Martens had been involved in the distribution of at lease 100 grams of heroin, the agreement said.

One user purchased 0.2 grams of heroin from or through Martens on about 50 occasions, according to the document.

Martens faces up to 20 years in federal prison and $1 million fine. Sentencing is pending.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Dan Chatham and was investigated as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force program of the United States Department of Justice through a cooperative effort of the Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force consisting of the DEA, the Linn County Sheriff’s Office, the Cedar Rapids Police Department, the Marion Police Department, the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, and the Sixth Judicial District Department of Correctional Services.

l Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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