Dubuque Woman Sentenced to Ten Years in Federal Prison for Distributing Fentanyl that Caused Non-Fatal Overdose

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

A woman who distributed fentanyl to a man who overdosed and nearly died was sentenced March 22, 2022, to ten years in federal prison.

Emily Ann Nelson, age 29, from Dubuque, Iowa, received the prison term after an October 14, 2021 guilty plea to one count of distribution of fentanyl.

Evidence at a prior hearing showed that Nelson distributed a substance that was supposedly heroin to another person in July 2020.  That person used the substance, which turned out to be fentanyl, and overdosed, nearly dying.  First responders were able to revive the other individual using the opioid antidote, Narcan.  At the plea hearing, Nelson admitted she distributed the fentanyl to the person who overdosed.  The day after the overdose incident, a confidential informant working with the Dubuque Drug Task Force contacted Nelson to purchase heroin.  Nelson stole the money she was supposed to use to get the drugs.  About two weeks later, the confidential informant again contacted Nelson to obtain heroin.  This time, Nelson obtained the drugs as agreed, but used a portion of the drugs before she could be arrested by officers. 

Nelson was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams.  Nelson was sentenced to 120 months’ imprisonment.  She must also serve a 3-year term of supervised release after the prison term.  There is no parole in the federal system.

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

The case was investigated by the Dubuque Drug Task Force and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dan Chatham.

Court file information at https://ecf.iand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl

The case file number is 21‑CR‑01009‑CJW‑MAR.

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