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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 4, 2015

Hiawatha Man Sentenced To 20 Years For Attempting To Cook Meth That Started Mobile Home Fire

A man whose November 2013 attempt at cooking methamphetamine resulted in a fire that damaged several mobile homes in Hiawatha was sentenced today to 20 years in federal prison.

Michael Landon Monroe Lala, age 27, from Hiawatha, Iowa, received the prison term after a January 27, 2015 guilty plea to attempted manufacture of 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 was occupied by one adult, and a third was occupied by two adults.

Lala was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Chief Judge Linda R. Reade.  Lala was sentenced to 240 months’ imprisonment.  A special assessment of $100 was imposed.  He must also serve a 3-year term of supervised release after the prison term.  There is no parole in the federal system.

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 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 CR14-69-LRR.

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Updated June 5, 2015