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Press Release

Marion Man Sentenced to Over 20 Years in Federal Prison for Trafficking Ice Methamphetamine

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

A man who sold over 30 pounds of methamphetamine was sentenced today to more than 20 years in federal prison.

Robert Lee Michael Bates, age 31, from Marion, Iowa, received the prison term after a February 2, 2023 guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

Evidence at prior hearings in the case showed that David Belton, a/k/a “Blood,” and others orchestrated shipments of between 30 to 60 pounds of ice methamphetamine between Los Angeles, California, and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, between 2017 and March 2022.  Belton 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 his associate would retrieve the methamphetamine and distribute it to other members of the organization for sale to customers.  Evidence at prior hearings showed that Bates was intercepted over a wiretap of phones used by the Belton organization.  Evidence showed Bates was ordering pounds of ice methamphetamine and 100 ecstasy pills from the organization.

Bates was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams.  Bates was sentenced to 248 months’ imprisonment.  He must also serve a five-year term of supervised release after the prison term.  There is no parole in the federal system.

Bates is the last of twelve co‑defendants in the investigation to be sentenced:

  • Kiyonte Levell Sowell was sentenced to 144 months’ imprisonment;
  • Albert Henry Bailey was sentenced to 88 months’ imprisonment;
  • Jesus Vera was sentenced to 151 months’ imprisonment;
  • Calub Joseph Storlie was sentenced to 200 months’ imprisonment;
  • Christopher Eric Curley was sentenced to 175 months’ imprisonment;
  • David Poitier Belton was sentenced to 396 months’ imprisonment;
  • Derek Michael Mims was sentenced to 360 months’ imprisonment;
  • Phillip Lanell Rogers was sentenced to 135 months’ imprisonment;
  • Anton Tarrice Whitney, Jr. was sentenced to 216 months’ imprisonment;
  • Elmer Mims was sentenced to 235 months’ imprisonment; and
  • Timothy Michael Webber was sentenced to 188 months’ imprisonment.

Bates is being held in the United States Marshal’s custody until he 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 January 26, 2024

Drug Trafficking