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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Dubuque Man Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Distribute Opioids that Caused Three Deaths

Jones sold heroin, fentanyl, and valeryl fentanyl to the victims

A man who sold three deadly doses of opioids in April and May of 2019 pled guilty today in federal court in Cedar Rapids.

Travis Gordon Jones, age 38, from Dubuque, Iowa, was convicted of one count of conspiring to distribute controlled substances near a protected location resulting in death.

At the plea hearing, Jones admitted that he conspired with others to distribute the opioids in Dubuque in April and May 2019.  Jones also admitted that he personally sold mixtures of heroin, fentanyl, and a synthetic opioid called valeryl fentanyl that were used by three individuals who then died of overdoses.  One of the individuals died on April 24, 2019 after using drugs Jones had distributed.  Another individual died on May 20, 2019, after using drugs Jones had distributed. 

The third victim died on May 27, 2019.  Evidence at prior hearings showed that Jackie Birch drove her boyfriend, Mateusz Syryjczyk, and the third victim to Jones’s home in Dubuque during the early morning of May 27, 2019.  Birch and the third victim went into the home, where they purchased what was purported to be heroin from Jones.  The three then drove to a hotel in Dubuque, where they all used the purported heroin.  The third victim began to overdose in the room.  Birch and Syryjczyk did not immediately call 911, but, over the course of multiple hours, Birch would occasionally perform CPR on the third victim to restore some breathing function, though the victim never regained consciousness.  Eventually, Birch and Syryjczyk decided they needed to call 911, and Syryjczyk took the remaining drug paraphernalia from the room to prevent law enforcement from finding it.  The third victim never recovered.

Birch previously pled guilty to aiding and abetting the distribution of a controlled substance.  Syryjczyk pled guilty to misprision of a felony.  Both Birch and Syryjczyk are awaiting sentencing.

Sentencing for Jones before United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams will be set after a presentence report is prepared.  Jones remains in custody of the United States Marshal pending sentencing.  Jones faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment and a possible maximum sentence of life imprisonment, a $2,000,000 fine, and a lifetime of supervised release following any imprisonment.

The case was investigated by the Dubuque Drug Task Force and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dan Chatham.

Court file information at https://ecf.iand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl

The case file number for Jones is 19-CR-1037-CJW-MAR.  The case file number for Birch is 19‑CR‑1041‑CJW-MAR.  The case file number for Syryjczyk is 19‑CR‑1042‑CJW‑MAR.

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Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Opioids
Component(s): 
Updated July 30, 2020