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Press Release

Leader of “We the Best” Heroin Ring Convicted of Conspiring to Distribute More Than a Kilogram of Heroin

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

A man who led a long-running heroin distribution organization in Cedar Rapids known by customers as “We the Best” was convicted by a jury today, after a five-day trial in federal court in Cedar Rapids.


Antonio Alonzo Outlaw, age 40, from Chicago, Illinois, and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was convicted of conspiring to distribute a kilogram or more of heroin and aiding and abetting the distribution of heroin.  The verdict was returned this morning following about three hours of jury deliberation.


The evidence at trial showed that Outlaw ran a heroin distribution operation in Cedar Rapids since at least 2013, and continuing until January 2017.  Witnesses testified that Outlaw’s operation was commonly known to customers as “We the Best” because of a signature line commonly included on text messages sent out by members of the group.  After making a phone call to the “We the Best” phone, customers would meet with Outlaw or one of his “runners” to purchase the heroin.  In September 2017, Outlaw pleaded guilty to two counts of distributing heroin in 2013.


Sentencing before United States District Court Judge Linda R. Reade will be set after a presentence report is prepared.  Outlaw remains in custody of the United States Marshal pending sentencing.  Outlaw faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment and a possible maximum sentence of life imprisonment, $23,000,000 in fines, $400 in special assessments, and a lifetime of supervised release following any imprisonment.


The case was investigated by 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 City Police Department; and the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Dan Chatham and Emily Nydle. 


Court file information at

The case file number is 16-CR-91-LRR.


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Updated December 11, 2017

Drug Trafficking