Skip to main content
Press Release

Dubuque Man Sentenced to More than a Decade in Federal Prison for Meth Trafficking

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa
Sold Ten Pounds of Ice Methamphetamine Over the Course of a Year

A man who trafficked methamphetamine throughout Dubuque, Iowa, and unlawfully possessed a firearm while using methamphetamine was sentenced on September 11, 2018, to more than 11 years in federal prison.

Richard Thomas Hense, age 34, from Dubuque, Iowa, received the prison term after a May 10, 2018, guilty plea to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and possession of a firearm by a drug user.

Evidence presented at court hearings showed that from about September 2016 until October 2017, Hense sold approximately ten pounds of ice methamphetamine throughout Dubuque that he had received from Derek Richard Rath.  Rath was getting the methamphetamine in the mail from a source in Phoenix, Arizona.

On the night of October 13, 2017, officers stopped Hense for a traffic violation.  The officers searched Hense’s vehicle and found a half-ounce of ice methamphetamine, prescription pills, a digital scale, a loaded .32 caliber revolver, and fifty-three rounds of ammunition.  Hense admitted to possessing the methamphetamine and firearm.  He also told officers that he had been smoking methamphetamine for the past year.

Hense was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Judge Linda R. Reade.  He was sentenced to 141 months’ imprisonment.  Hense must also serve a five-year term of supervised release after the prison term.  There is no parole in the federal system.

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

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that has been historically successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.  Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made turning the tide of rising violent crime in America a top priority.  In October 2017, as part of a series of actions to address this crime trend, Attorney General Sessions announced the reinvigoration of PSN and directed all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to develop a district crime reduction strategy that incorporates the lessons learned since PSN launched in 2001.

The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Drew O. Inman and investigated by the Dubuque Drug Task Force, Dubuque County Sheriff’s Office, Dubuque Police Department, Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Court file information at

The case file number is 18-CR-1009-LRR.

Follow us on Twitter @USAO_NDIA.

Updated September 12, 2018

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods