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Press Release

Illinois Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Crime for Removing Evidence from Opioid Overdose Death Scene

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

A man who removed drug paraphernalia evidence from an opioid overdose death scene in Dubuque pled guilty March 13, 2020, in federal court in Cedar Rapids.

Mateusz D. Syryjczyk, age 29, from Rockford, Illinois, was convicted of one count of misprision of a felony.

At the plea hearing, Syryjczyk admitted that, in May 2019, he knew that the crime of distribution of controlled substances resulting in serious bodily injury had occurred.  He also admitted that he failed to notify authorities that the crime had been committed and that he took affirmative steps to conceal the crime.  Evidence at a prior hearing showed that Syryjczyk and his girlfriend, Jacqueline Birch, and another individual drove to a residence in Dubuque, Iowa during the late evening of May 26, 2019.  Birch and the other individual went into the residence, and returned a short time later with purported heroin they had purchased inside the residence.  The three then drove to a hotel in Dubuque, where they all used the purported heroin.  The other individual began to overdose in the room.  Birch and Syryjczyk did not immediately call 911, but, over the course of multiple hours, Birch would occasionally perform CPR on the individual to restore some breathing function, though the person never regained consciousness.  Eventually, Birch and Syryjczyk decided they needed to call 911, and Syryjczyk took the remaining drug paraphernalia from the room to prevent law enforcement from finding it.  Syryjczyk also made false statements to the responding police officers about the cause of the individual’s condition.  That individual was pronounced dead at the scene.  An autopsy later determined the cause of death was use of heroin, fentanyl, and valeryl fentanyl.

Sentencing before United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams will be set after a presentence report is prepared.  Syryjczyk is free on bond pending sentencing.  Syryjczyk faces a possible maximum sentence of 3 years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and 1 year 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‑1042‑CJW-‑MAR.

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Updated March 18, 2020