Four people involved in bringing high quality marijuana from Colorado and California into eastern Iowa have been sentenced to prison. The four were arrested following an investigation by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency that used wiretaps and cellphones. All four pled guilty to conspiracy to distributing marijuana.
Fifty-three-year-old James Allen of Belton Missouri was sentenced to six months in prison and three months home detention. Thirty-nine-year-old Cory Kintzel was sentenced to one year in prison, while 39-year-old Mathew Fritz of Cedar Rapids was given five years probation and fined three-thousand dollars. Mark Swanson, a 55-year-old pilot from Brekenridge, Colorado, was sentenced to 24th months in prison and fined 10-thousand dollars.
Agents say Swanson grew most of the pot and then used his plane to fly it from Colorado to Iowa. The government also seized the plane. The marijuana was sold for $3,400 or more for a pound. Swanson admitted to making at least $35,000 for himself from the operation.
Five other people were already sentenced in the case: Nels Nelson, 34, from Cedar Rapids, was sentenced on April 21, 2014 to 41 months; Chad Straub, 40, from Salinas, California, was sentenced on May 29, 2014 to 13 months’ and one day; Robert Leonard, 55, from Oak Run, California, was sentenced on September 25, 2014 to 46 months; Brenda Leonard, 51, from Oak Run, California, was sentenced on September 25, 2014 to two years’ probation; Tyler Scheer, 26, from Cedar Rapids, was sentenced on December 22, 2014 to nine months in prison and fined $3,000.
Three participants in the conspiracy still await sentencing: Jesse Tolen, 36, from Castella, California, is scheduled to be sentenced on January 15after pleading guilty on July 1, 2014 to conspiracy to distribute marijuana and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Corey Marx, 29, from Cedar Rapids, is scheduled to be sentenced on January 15th after he pled guilty on September 16, 2014 to conspiracy to distribute marijuana. Shannon Ehlts, 38, from Lowden awaits sentencing on his August 18, 2014 guilty plea to conspiracy to distribute marijuana. A sentencing date has not yet been set.