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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Iowa

Friday, August 1, 2014

Man Sentenced To Federal Prison For Meth Cook That Started Apartment Fire Near Dubuque School

A man who was involved in an attempt to manufacture methamphetamine in his apartment, but instead set the apartment building on fire, was sentenced on July 29, 2014, to more than seven years in federal prison.

Donald Sheldon, age 47, from Dubuque, Iowa, received the prison term after an April 3, 2014, guilty plea to attempt and aiding and abetting the manufacture of methamphetamine within 1,000 feet of a school.

Court documents reflect Sheldon allowed Joshuah Tiesman to use his apartment to manufacture methamphetamine.  The methamphetamine lab exploded, starting a fire in the apartment building that caused damage to Sheldon’s apartment building and an adjoining building, including a restaurant located in that adjoining building.  Tiesman previously was sentenced to 96 months’ imprisonment for his involvement in the methamphetamine cook and fire.

Sheldon was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Chief Judge Linda R. Reade.  Sheldon was sentenced to 87 months’ imprisonment.  A special assessment of $100 was imposed, and he was ordered to make $94,682 in restitution to the victims of the fire.  He must also serve a six-year term of supervised release after the prison term.  There is no parole in the federal system.

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

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

Court file information is available at  The case file number is CR13-1019-2-LRR.

Updated February 19, 2015