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Iowa man who sold heroin that caused person’s death pleads guilty again

gavel-justiceCEDAR RAPIDS – An Iowa man who sold heroin to a person who overdosed and died from using the heroin pled guilty for the second time on October 30, 2014, in federal court in Cedar Rapids.

Alvin Stanley Briggs, Jr., age 50, from Dubuque, Iowa, was convicted of distribution of heroin resulting in death. At the plea hearing, Briggs admitted that on July 3, 2012, he sold $100 worth of heroin to an individual identified as S.R., and that S.R. died as a result of using that heroin.

Briggs initially pled guilty to the charge in June 2013, and was sentenced to 30 years’ imprisonment in September 2013. His conviction was overturned after the United States Supreme Court ruled in Burrage v. United States that individuals could not be convicted of distributing drugs where death resulted unless the government proved the drugs were the “but for” cause of the death.

Briggs had previously admitted only that the drugs were a contributing factor in the death of S.R., but at the plea hearing this week, he admitted that S.R. would have lived but for using the heroin distributed by Briggs.

Sentencing before United States District Court Chief Judge Linda R. Reade will be set after a presentence report is prepared. Briggs remains in custody of the United States Marshal pending sentencing. Briggs faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment and a possible maximum sentence of life imprisonment, a $1,000,000 fine, $100 in special assessments, and up to a lifetime term of supervised release following any imprisonment.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dan Chatham and was investigated by the Platteville, Wisconsin, Police Department, and the Dubuque, Iowa, Drug Task Force.

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