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Press Release

Leaders of “Massive” Ice Methamphetamine Conspiracy Sentenced to 63 Total Years in Federal Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa
Organization responsible for distributing over 500 pounds of meth; felon Belton found in possession of 15 guns

Two men who orchestrated the transportation and distribution of over 500 pounds of ice methamphetamine to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, were sentenced on August 16 and 30, 2023, to a total of 63 years in federal prison.

Derek Michael Mims, age 32, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, received the prison term after a February 7, 2023 guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.

David Poitier Belton, age 37, from Compton, California, received the prison term after a February 1, 2023 guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and one count of being a felon and drug user in possession of a firearm.

In plea agreements, Belton, who was also known as “Blood,” and Mims admitted that they orchestrated the transportation of 30 to 60-pound shipments of ice methamphetamine from Los Angeles to Cedar Rapids between 2017 and March 2022.  Belton and Mims paid other individuals to transport the ice methamphetamine, typically in a vehicle that contained a specially made hidden compartment.  Once the ice methamphetamine arrived in Cedar Rapids, Belton or Mims would retrieve the methamphetamine and distribute it to other members of the organization for sale to customers.  In October 2020, the vehicle with the hidden compartment was searched by law enforcement officers while it was on a car hauler destined for Iowa.  Officers found approximately 30 pounds of ice methamphetamine inside the hidden compartment.

In late 2021, the Cedar Rapids DEA conducted a wiretap investigation into Belton’s drug organization.  In February 2022, agents intercepted communications indicating that a shipment of 60 pounds of ice methamphetamine was going to be coming from California to Iowa.  Investigators tracked a courier driving a rental truck from Los Angeles to Nebraska, where the truck was stopped.  During a search of the cargo area of the truck, officers found a plastic tote containing 60 pounds of ice methamphetamine.

Following the seizure of the 60 pounds of ice methamphetamine, Belton continued to purchase additional methamphetamine from his source in California.  On February 27, 2022, Belton was intercepted speaking with Kiyonte Sowell, a relative of Belton in California.  Belton told Sowell that he was booking Sowell a flight, instructed Sowell to “pack you a big ass suitcase, you already know you ain’t going to stay for that many days” and then said, “You already know what the rest is so we gonna, I’m gonna book you out a ticket in the morning.”  The next day, Sowell went to Los Angeles International Airport, taking a large roller bag with him through airport security as carry‑on luggage.  Airport security conducted an X‑ray of the roller bag and observed multiple bags of an unknown substance underneath the clothes inside the bag.  During a secondary search of the bag, security found five vacuum‑sealed bags containing ice methamphetamine.  Sowell admitted that the bag was his but said his brother had packed it.  When asked if he was aware of the contents of the bag he shrugged and said, “It looks like cocaine or meth, I don’t know.”  He then said he was going to Iowa, “but all I know is that I’m missing my flight and I’m going to jail.” 

On March 8, 2022, investigators searched Belton’s home in Cedar Rapids.  During the search investigators located a small amount of cocaine and 15 firearms.  Belton was a felon, having twice been convicted of felony burglary and once of possession with intent to distribute marijuana.  Belton was also prohibited from possessing firearms because he was an unlawful user of marijuana.

Belton and Mims were sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams.  The judge described Belton and Mims as leading a “huge organization bringing back astronomical quantities of ice methamphetamine” that caused “untold damage to the community.” 

Belton was sentenced to 396 months’ imprisonment and Mims was sentenced to 360 months’ imprisonment.  Each man must also serve a five‑year term of supervised release after the prison term.  There is no parole in the federal system.

Belton and Mims are being held in the United States Marshal’s custody until they can be transported to a federal prison.

The case was investigated as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program of the United States Department of Justice through a cooperative effort of the DEA Task Force in Cedar Rapids and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  The DEA Task Force in Cedar Rapids consists of the DEA; the Linn County Sheriff's Office; the Cedar Rapids Police Department; the Marion Police Department; and the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dan Chatham. 

Court file information at

The case file number is 22‑CR‑39‑CJW‑MAR.

Updated August 31, 2023

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses