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Press Release

Cedar Rapids Man Pleads Guilty To Maintaing A Premises To Sell Synthetic Drugs And Identity Theft

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa

A man who opened the Fragrance Hut smoke shop pled guilty today in federal court in Cedar Rapids.

Matthew James McCauley, age 39, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was convicted of maintaining a premises for the distribution of controlled substances and aggravated identity theft.

At the plea hearing, McCauley admitted he opened the Fragrance Hut, formerly located at 2902 First Avenue NE in Cedar Rapids, for the purpose of distributing illegal synthetic controlled substances, commonly referred to as “spice” or “K2.”  Court documents reflect McCauley opened the Fragrance Hut in February 2014, and that the store sold synthetic cannabinoid products with names like “WTF,” “Diablo,” “Purple Haze,” “Fairly Legal,” “Green Giant,” and “Smoking Santa.” McCauley also admitted to having stolen the identity of another individual during and in relation to a wire fraud scheme.  Court documents reflect McCauley created a false driver’s license using another individual’s name and date of birth.  McCauley then used that name and date of birth to obtain a fraudulent line of credit to purchase jewelry at a local jewelry store.

 Sentencing before United States District Court Chief Judge Linda R. Reade will be set after a presentence report is prepared.  McCauley remains in custody of the United States Marshal after the guilty plea and will remain in custody pending sentencing.  McCauley faces a possible maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment on the drug charge, and a mandatory consecutive sentence of 2 years’ imprisonment on the identity theft charge.  He also faces up to $750,000 in fines, $200 in special assessments, and 4 years of supervised release following any imprisonment.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dan Chatham and was investigated by as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program of the United States Department of Justice through a cooperative effort of 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; the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement; and the Sixth Judicial District Department of Correctional Services. 

Court file information is available at  The case file numbers are CR14-94-LRR and 14-MJ-186.

Updated February 19, 2015