Illinois man sentenced for involvement in Cedar Rapids heroin ring

Published: Jun. 1, 2020 at 4:16 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - A man from Illinois was sentenced to over 10 years in federal prison for his involvement in an eastern Iowa heroin ring, according to officials.

Jarel Shawn Williams, 23, from Chicago, had previously entered a guilty plea in December 2019 to one count of conspiracy to distribute at least 1,000 grams of heroin and five counts of distribution of heroin. His sentence runs for 127 months. There is no opportunity for parole in federal prison.

Williams is the 22nd person to be sentenced to prison in connection to a multi-year investigation by local, state, and federal authorities into a large-scale heroin distribution ring. Officials said that the investigation began in 2017 and involved multiple wiretaps, eventually leading to 33 people being charged.

“Drug trafficking is not a victimless crime, but rather poisons the community and those with substance abuse issues," Wayne Jerman, Cedar Rapids Police chief, said, in a statement. "Further, illegal drug trafficking often results in other dangerous and violent crimes.”

Prosecutors said that the ring brought in heroin from outside of the state for sale to dealers and users in the Cedar Rapids area. Individual transactions were around $40 of the drug at a time, with some exchanges taking place in parking lots outside of businesses, and parks. Investigators said they conducted over a dozen undercover purchases of heroin from members of the ring during the course of the investigation.

Authorities said that members of the ring would travel to Chicago to acquire the drug, then bring it back to Cedar Rapids for distribution. A traffic stop in July 2017 caught two members of the group with 350 grams of heroin, according to prosecutors.

The other individuals who have received convictions were all either from Cedar Rapids or Chicago.

Copyright 2020 KCRG. All rights reserved.

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