The Dubuque County Sheriff’s Department has received $742,707 from forfeited property in a scheme involving stolen meat. Assistant United States Attorney, Richard Murphy, handled the case that involved truckers taking meat from shipments on their trucks and later reselling it.
“Interstate truckers would pick up the loads of meat in East Dubuque. They brought it to a farm some of Dubuque where they would unload some of the meat — they store it there temporarily and then ship it out when they sold the meat,” Murphy explains. “They use the proceeds from their sale, some of the proceeds to purchase the farm, make payments on the farm.”
The operation was run by James Patterson and his wife Patricia Patterson of Zwingle, and James Patterson’s brother-in-law Lloyd. Court records indicate they stole bacon, ribs, ham and other meat from the trucks and then resold it at one dollar a pound.
Murphy says federal officials sought the farm after learning of its connection to the theft scheme. “The farm was forfeited because of the proceeds being involved to help purchase the farm — money laundering charges resulted — and that’s what resulted in the forfeiture of the farm,” Murphy says.
One other person, Donald Herbst Senior, was arrested for buying the stolen meat from the Pattersons. Murphy says the Dubuque County Sheriff’s Department was given the bulk of the money from the forfeited farm because the department investigated the case.
“The trucking company and then the storage company were made whole, restitution was paid completely in the case,” Murphy says. “As far as the forfeiture proceeds, there was about 200-thousand that went to the Department of Justice, and then the remaining money went to the Dubuque County Sheriff’s office.”
The Pattersons and Herbst were all sent to federal prison for their roles in the case.
(Update 12:20 pm)
Dubuque County Sheriff Don Vrotsos told Radio Iowa they are looking at several possible uses for the money, including buying tasers for officers, purchasing a firearms training simulator, or combining funds with the Dubuque Drug Task Force to purchase land for a shooting range.
Vrotsos says federal guidelines prevent them from using the money for any current projects that are in the department’s budget.