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Press Release

Dubuque Man Pleads Guilty to Distributing Fatal Dose of Fentanyl and Fentanyl Analogue

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

A man who sold a mixture of fentanyl and acetyl fentanyl pled guilty today in federal court in Cedar Rapids.

Carl Ravon Watkins, age 29, from Dubuque, Iowa, was convicted of one count of distribution of controlled substances resulting in death.

In a plea agreement, Watkins admitted that in August 2019, a woman called and texted him, looking for heroin.  Watkins met with the woman and her boyfriend in the area of the 700 block of Wilson Avenue in Dubuque, where Watkins entered the woman’s vehicle and sold her what was supposedly heroin.  The woman took the mixture home, used it later that night, and lost consciousness.  Her boyfriend found her hours later, unconscious and not breathing.  Emergency responders arrived, but were unable to revive the woman and she was pronounced dead.  An autopsy determined that the woman’s death was caused by mixed drug toxicity, specifically from fentanyl and an analogue of fentanyl called acetyl fentanyl.  During a search of the woman’s bedroom, officers found a chunky white substance that tested positive for fentanyl and acetyl fentanyl. 

Watkins also admitted that the day after the woman’s death, the Dubuque Drug Task Force set up a controlled meeting with Watkins to attempt to purchase $80 of purported heroin from him.  When Watkins arrived at the area of the 700 block of Wilson Avenue in Dubuque, officers placed him under arrest.  During his arrest, Wilson dropped a baggie containing about a quarter gram of fentanyl and acetyl fentanyl.

Sentencing before United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams will be set after a presentence report is prepared.  Watkins remains in custody of the United States Marshal pending sentencing.  Watkins faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment and a possible maximum sentence of life imprisonment, a $1,000,000 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

The case file number is 19-CR-01043-CJW-MAR.

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Updated June 17, 2020

Drug Trafficking