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California man who tried to take five pounds of methamphetamine on a plane to Iowa pleads guilty

CEDAR RAPIDS – A man who was arrested in Los Angeles while trying to transport five pounds of methamphetamine to Iowa pled guilty today in federal court in Cedar Rapids.

Kiyonte Levell Sowell, age 21, from Los Angeles, California, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.

Information discussed at the plea hearing showed that in early 2022, the Drug Enforcement Administration was conducting a wiretap investigation into a methamphetamine distribution organization in Cedar Rapids. On February 28, 2022, Sowell went to the Los Angeles International Airport with the intention of boarding a flight to Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Sowell brought a large roller bag and attempted to take the bag through security as his carry-on luggage. Airport security eventually searched the bag, found that it contained approximately 2,211 grams of methamphetamine, and arrested Sowell. At the plea hearing, Sowell admitted he conspired with others in the Northern District of Iowa to distribute methamphetamine.

Sentencing before United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams will be set after a presentence report is prepared. Sowell remains in custody of the United States Marshal pending sentencing. Sowell faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment and a possible maximum sentence of life imprisonment, a $10,000,000 fine, and a lifetime of supervised release following any imprisonment.

The case was investigated as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program of the United States Department of Justice through a cooperative effort of the DEA Task Force in Cedar Rapids and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The DEA Task Force in Cedar Rapids consists 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. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dan Chatham.

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