Drug Enforcement Administration

St. Louis

William J. Callahan, Special Agent in Charge

January 19, 2018

Contact: Andree Swanson

Phone Number: (314) 538-4600

Heroin Dealer Found Guilty For Causing An Overdose Death Facing Life In Prison

OMAHA - Matt Barden, Associate Special Agent in Charge of the Omaha District Office, today announced that Richard L. Parker, 47, from Dubuque, Iowa, was convicted by a jury on the crimes of distribution of heroin within 1000 feet of an elementary school and a playground, resulting in death, and also the charge of possession with intent to distribute heroin within 1,000 feet of an elementary school and a playground. It took a jury seated in the United States District Court, Northern District of Iowa, little more than two hours to come back with the guilty verdict. The jury also found Parker not guilty on the charge of distribution of cocaine.

“The opioid epidemic is capable of destroying lives and neighborhoods,” Associate Special Agent in Charge Barden said. “This individual not only sold this lethal poison causing his victim to lose her life, he peddled this poison in a school zone completely disregarding the dangers he placed innocent children in. DEA is proud of the efforts made by our investigators and law enforcement partners in this investigation, who work as hard as they can to keep tragedies like this from being common in our neighborhoods and communities.”

Evidence presented at trial detailed how Parker traveled to Chicago in April of 2017, to obtain heroin to bring back to the Dubuque area for sale. On Easter Sunday, 2017, Parker was at a residence with others where he provided heroin to his female victim. Parker’s victim used that heroin, and shortly thereafter, stopped breathing. Emergency medical personnel were contacted, but sadly they were unable to save this women’s life. During trial Parker admitted that while medical personnel attempted to revive his victim, he went into another room of the residence to hide the remaining heroin he had in his possession. Investigators later found this heroin.

Due to Parker having four prior felony drug convictions, Parker is facing a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison.  Sentencing will be set by United States District Court Judge Linda R. Reade after a presentencing report is prepared.

This case was investigated by the DEA and the Dubuque County Drug Task Force; the Cedar Rapids Police Department; the Linn County Sheriff’s Office; the Marion Police Department; the Iowa City Police Department; and the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement.

The case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Iowa.

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