Defendants Plead Guilty in Cedar Rapids Heroin Wiretap Investigation

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

Two men who conspired to distribute heroin in Cedar Rapids pled guilty on June 2, 2022, in federal court in Cedar Rapids.

Thomas Nathaniel May, age 27, from Iowa City, Iowa, and Demico Demon Irvin, age 30, from Chicago, Illinois, were each convicted of one count of conspiring to distribute heroin.  May admitted to conspiring to distribute more than 100 grams of heroin.

Evidence at a prior hearing showed that, during an early 2021 wiretap investigation involving a large-scale heroin distributor in Cedar Rapids named Brian Dennis, May was identified as one of the top callers to Dennis’s phone.  May was typically purchasing at least 3.5 grams of heroin and upwards of 10.5 grams of heroin per day from Dennis and his associates, totaling well over 100 grams in a six-week period.  In April 2021, May was arrested after meeting with Dennis and found in possession of 7.39 grams of a substance containing heroin, fentanyl, and synthetic opioids acetyl fentanyl, parafluorofentanyl and metonitazene.

In a plea agreement, Irvin admitted that he conspired to distribute heroin with Dennis and others.  Irvin admitted that he obtained heroin from Dennis, which he then sold to various customers for multiple months in 2020.  In September 2020, Irvin’s apartment and vehicle were searched by Cedar Rapids police.  Irvin was found in possession of 32 baggies of purported heroin packaged for sale.  The substance was later determined to weigh 14.86 grams and found to contain fentanyl, and not heroin.  Irvin admitted to selling between 80 and 100 grams of heroin for Dennis.

Four other individuals, Cody Scott Deklotz, Andrew James Lehman, Jerry Dwayne Banghart, and Melinda Salvatora Werning, previously pled guilty to the heroin conspiracy and are awaiting sentencing.  Ryan Rick Schlitter was sentenced to 46 months’ imprisonment for his role in the conspiracy.  Four other individuals charged in the same indictment, including Dennis, are still pending trial.

Sentencings before United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams will be set after presentence reports are prepared.  May and Irvin remain in custody of the United States Marshal pending sentencing.  May faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years’ imprisonment and a possible maximum sentence of 40 years’ imprisonment, a $2,000,000 fine, and a lifetime term of supervised release following any imprisonment.  Irvin faces a possible maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment, a $1,000,000 fine, and a lifetime term of imprisonment following any imprisonment.

The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Task Force consisting 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, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dan Chatham.

Court file information at

The case file number is 21‑CR‑32‑CJW.

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