CEDAR RAPIDS – A Compton, California man attempting to bring hundreds of pounds of meth from his city to Iowa was busted in a wiretap investigation and may face life in prison.
David Poitier Belton, age 37, from Compton, California, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and one count of being a felon and drug user in possession of a firearm.
In a plea agreement, Belton, who was also known as “Blood,” admitted that he and others transported 30- to 60-pound shipments of ice methamphetamine from Los Angeles, California, to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, between 2017 and March 2022. Belton paid other individuals to transport the ice methamphetamine, typically in a vehicle that contained a specially made hidden compartment. Once the ice methamphetamine arrived in Cedar Rapids, Belton or his associate would retrieve the methamphetamine and distribute it to other members of the organization for sale to customers. In October 2020, the vehicle with the hidden compartment was searched by law enforcement while it was on a car hauler destined for Iowa. Approximately 30 pounds of ice methamphetamine was found inside the hidden compartment.
In late 2021, the Cedar Rapids DEA conducted a wiretap investigation into Belton’s drug organization. In February 2022, intercepted communications indicated that a shipment of 60 pounds of ice methamphetamine was going to be coming to Iowa from California. Investigators tracked a courier driving a rental truck from Los Angeles to Nebraska, where the truck was stopped. During a search of the cargo area of the truck, officers found a plastic tote containing 60 pounds of ice methamphetamine.
Following the seizure of the 60 pounds of ice methamphetamine, Belton continued to purchase additional methamphetamine from his source in California. On February 27, 2022, Belton was intercepted speaking with Kiyonte Sowell, a relative of Belton’s in California. Belton told Sowell that he was booking Sowell a flight, instructed Sowell to “pack you a big ass suitcase, you already know you ain’t going to stay for that many days” and then said, “You already know what the rest is so we gonna, I’m gonna book you out a ticket in the morning.” The next day, Sowell went to the Los Angeles International Airport, taking a large roller bag with him through airport security as carry‑on luggage. Airport security conducted an X‑ray of the roller bag and observed multiple bags of an unknown substance underneath the clothes inside the bag. During a secondary search of the bag, security found five vacuum‑sealed bags containing ice methamphetamine. Sowell admitted that the bag was his but said his brother had packed it. When asked if he was aware of the contents of the bag he shrugged and said, “It looks like cocaine or meth, I don’t know.” He then said he was going to Iowa, “but all I know is that I’m missing my flight and I’m going to jail.”
On March 8, 2022, investigators searched Belton’s home in Cedar Rapids. During the search, investigators located a small amount of cocaine and 15 guns. Belton was a felon, having twice been convicted of felony burglary and once of possession with intent to distribute marijuana. Belton was also prohibited from possessing guns because he was an unlawful user of marijuana.
Sentencing before United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams will be set after a presentence report is prepared. Belton remains in custody of the United States Marshal pending sentencing. Belton faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment and a possible maximum sentence of life imprisonment, a $10,250,000 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.