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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Hiawatha Man Pleads Guilty To Attempting To Cook Meth That Started Mobile Home Fire

Contact: Steve Young

A man whose attempt at cooking methamphetamine resulted in a fire that damaged several mobile homes in Hiawatha pled guilty on January 27, 2015, in federal court in Cedar Rapids.

Michael Landon Monroe Lala, age 28, from Hiawatha, Iowa, was convicted of attempt to manufacture methamphetamine.

In a plea agreement, Lala admitted that he manufactured methamphetamine many times between April 2012 and May 2014, and that he recruited others to purchase pseudoephedrine for him so he could make meth.  Lala also admitted that on November 13, 2013, he was in the process of cooking meth via the “one-pot” method when the bottle he was using in the manufacturing process tipped over, causing a fire.  A 14-year-old and the owner of the mobile home in Hiawatha where Lala was cooking the meth were also present in the mobile home when the fire started.  The mobile home where the fire started was destroyed, and five neighboring mobile homes were also extensively damaged.  Three of the other damaged mobile homes were occupied at the time of the fire.  One of those residences was occupied by two adults and four minor children, another by one adult, and a the third residence by two adults.

Sentencing before United States District Court Chief Judge Linda R. Reade will be set after a presentence report is prepared.  Lala remains in custody of the United States Marshal pending sentencing.  Lala faces a possible maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment, a $1,000,000 fine, $100 in special assessments, and up to a lifetime of supervised release following any imprisonment.

The case was investigated by the Hiawatha Police Department and 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, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dan Chatham.

Court file information is available at https://ecf.iand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl.  The case file number is CR14-100-LRR.

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Updated February 19, 2015