Dubuque Men Sentenced for Involvement in Bank Robbery, Selling Heroin, and Possessing Firearms
Two Dubuque men who robbed the Fidelity Bank and Trust in Maquoketa, one of whom also sold heroin that led to an overdose and possessed firearms as a felon, were sentenced yesterday and today to federal prison terms.
Gregory Stapleton, age 32, from Dubuque, Iowa, received a 24-year prison sentence after an August 14, 2017, guilty plea to aiding and abetting bank robbery, distribution of heroin, furanyl fentanyl, and acryl fentanyl, resulting in serious bodily injury, and possession of a firearm as a felon.
Dante Rhodes, age 41, also from Dubuque, received a 9-year prison sentence after an August 7, 2017, guilty plea to bank robbery.
At their respective guilty plea hearings, Rhodes and Stapleton both admitted their involvement in robbing the Fidelity Bank and Trust in Maquoketa on March 8, 2017. According to a criminal complaint and sentencing memoranda, as well as information discussed at his sentencing hearing, Rhodes entered the bank, approached a teller, and handed a note that read “Give me your money, I have a gun.” The teller placed over $6,500 into Rhodes’s bag. While Rhodes was in the bank, Stapleton sat in a car across the street, listening to a police scanner. Stapleton had visited the bank the day prior to the robbery to “case” the bank, and provided the cars used by Stapleton and Rhodes in the robbery.
After Rhodes left the bank, he got into his car and drove towards Dubuque. When police attempted to pull him over, Rhodes fled at a high rate of speed. As he was being chased by police, Rhodes drove over 100 miles per hour in busy traffic. Rhodes crashed into multiple vehicles prior to his arrest. One motorist was injured and was taken by ambulance to the hospital.
In addition to his involvement in the March 2017 bank robbery, Stapleton was also sentenced for possessing firearms as a felon in July 2016, and selling heroin in January 2017. Rhodes was not involved in these other crimes.
According to the government’s sentencing memorandum and information discussed at Stapleton’s sentencing, Stapleton, who had multiple prior felony convictions, asked a heroin user to purchase firearms for Stapleton. The heroin user purchased a total of five guns for Stapleton. Stapleton provided heroin in exchange for the firearms. Stapleton, in turn, provided the five guns to his heroin source.
Stapleton sold heroin in the Dubuque area from at least as early as 2016 and up through his arrest in 2017. In January 2017, Stapleton sold a mixture of heroin, furanyl fentanyl, and acryl fentanyl within 1000 feet of a playground. The purchaser of that heroin and fentanyl mixture took the drugs to a third party who used the mixture and sustained a serious bodily injury as a result.
Stapleton and Rhodes were both sentenced in Cedar Rapids by Chief United States District Court Judge Leonard T. Strand. Stapleton was sentenced to 288 months’ imprisonment. Rhodes was sentenced to 108 months’ imprisonment. They were each ordered to make $7,743 in restitution to victims of the bank robbery offense, including the bank and the motorist who was injured in the pursuit. Both Stapleton and Rhodes must serve a 3-year term of supervised release after their respective prison terms. There is no parole in the federal system.
“I want to thank the FBI and our local law enforcement partners for their excellent work on this very important case,” said United States Attorney Peter E. Deegan, Jr. “My office is dedicated to helping keep our communities safe by holding opioid dealers and violent criminals accountable for their actions in federal court.”
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.
Both Stapleton and Rhodes are being held in the United States Marshal’s custody until they can be transported to a federal prison.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Justin Lightfoot and investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Maquoketa Police Department, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, the Dubuque Drug Task Force, the Dubuque Police Department, and the Dubuque County Sheriff’s Office.
Court file information at https://ecf.iand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl.
The case file number is 17-CR-1022.
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