News and Press Releases

Emmetsburg Man Pleads Guilty To Meth Conspiracy

August 30, 2012

Contact: Peter Deegan

A man who conspired to distribute methamphetamine pled guilty August 29, 2012, in federal court in Sioux City.

John Gagen, 49, from Emmetsburg, Iowa, was convicted of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Gagen was convicted twice previously within the last fifteen years for felony controlled substance violations, once in Minnesota and once in Colorado.

At the plea hearing, Gagen admitted his involvement in a conspiracy from about 2009 through April 2011 that distributed at least 50 grams of actual (pure) methamphetamine. Gagen also admitted that on April 9, 2011, he purchased approximately 3.52 grams (per Iowa DCI laboratory report) of crystal methamphetamine (88% pure) from Ronald Walstrom (which law enforcement later seized from Gagen after observing Gagen travel to/from Walstrom’s residence).

Sentencing before United States District Court Judge Mark W. Bennett will be set after a presentence report is prepared. Gagen remains in custody of the United States Marshal pending sentencing. Gagen faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment and a possible maximum sentence of life imprisonment, a $10,000,000 fine, a special assessment of $100, and 5 years up to life of supervised release following any imprisonment.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Shawn S. Wehde and was investigated by Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, Iowa Great Lakes Drug Task Force, Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office, Emmetsburg Police Department, and Clay County Sheriff’s Office.

Court file information is available at The case file number is 11-3028.



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