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Press Release

Iowa Drug Dealer Sentenced to Federal Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa
Had Previous State Drug Trafficking Conviction

A man who admitted selling drugs in the Northern District of Iowa was sentenced today to more than 19 ½ years in federal prison.

David Anthony Vargas, age 48, from Winthrop, Iowa, received the prison term after a September 3, 2019, guilty plea to conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.

In a plea agreement, Vargas admitted he worked with at least one other person to distribute methamphetamine in the Northern District of Iowa and elsewhere.  Vargas admitted selling drugs to another person on three occasions totaling more than 180 grams of pure methamphetamine.  Officers recovered another 386.2 grams of pure methamphetamine in Vargas’s possession when he was arrested in Burlington, Iowa, and additional methamphetamine at his residence in Winthrop, Iowa.  Vargas was previously convicted in state court of possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine in 2007.

Vargas was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams.  Vargas was sentenced to 235 months’ imprisonment.  He must also serve a ten-year term of supervised release after the prison term.  There is no parole in the federal system.

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

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Emily K. Nydle and investigated by the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, the Buchanan County Sheriff’s Department, the Dubuque County Sheriff’s Department, the Independence Police Department, the Iowa State Patrol, the Oelwein Police Department, the Urbana Police Department, the Des Moines County Sheriff’s Department, the Tri-County Drug Task Force, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). 

Court file information at

The case file number is 19-cr-02043.

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Updated January 29, 2020

Drug Trafficking