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Iowa heroin and fentanyl dealer who caused overdoses sent to prison

CEDAR RAPIDS – A man who sold opioids that resulted in two near-fatal overdoses was sentenced August 22, 2019, to 25 years in federal prison.

Jason Bates, age 44, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, received the prison term after guilty pleas on August 6, 2018, to possessing heroin with intent to distribute it near a protected location and being a felon in possession of a firearm, and a guilty plea on March 21, 2019, to distributing heroin resulting in serious bodily injury.

In a plea agreement, Bates admitted he distributed at least 110 grams of heroin during two months in 2018. He further admitted that, on March 16, 2018, he sold a customer approximately a quarter gram of heroin for $40. The customer used the heroin and lost consciousness. When first responders arrived at the scene, they found the customer unconscious, with pale, cool skin, and breathing only four to six times per minute. First responders administered Narcan to the customer, who regained consciousness and breathing function.

In April 2018, federal officers executed a warrant at Bates’s home. When the officers arrived, Bates threw a baggie containing 32.66 grams of a mixture of heroin, fentanyl, and acetyl fentanyl out of a window. Officers also found nearly $2000 in cash, a loaded .40 caliber pistol, digital scales, an empty box for another handgun, and 33 rounds of ammunition. The .40 caliber pistol had been reported stolen after a 2016 home burglary.

Evidence at the sentencing hearing demonstrated that in September 2015, Bates sold another customer approximately a half gram of a mixture containing heroin and fentanyl. The customer injected himself and his girlfriend with defendant’s drugs, and both lost consciousness. The girlfriend remained unconscious for a period of hours and eventually her lips began to turn blue and her skin turned pale. The customer drove his girlfriend to a park in Cedar Rapids, propped her up against a tree, called 911, and then waited in the area until first responders arrived before leaving. The girlfriend was admitted to a hospital, and during her hospital stay she suffered multiple seizures and a stroke, which caused potentially permanent problems with her balance and vision.

Bates was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Chief Judge Leonard T. Strand. Bates was sentenced to 300 months’ imprisonment. He must also serve a six-year term of supervised release after the prison term. There is no parole in the federal system.

Bates is being held in the United States Marshal’s custody until he can be transported to a federal prison.

The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Task Force consisting of the DEA, the Linn County Sheriff’s Office, the Cedar Rapids Police Department, the Marion Police Department, and the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Justin Lightfoot and Dan Chatham.

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