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Press Release

Northern District of Iowa Assistant United States Attorney Recognized for Superior Performance

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

Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) Daniel Chatham of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Iowa was recognized by the U.S, Department of Justice’s Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys (EOUSA) with the a Director’s Award for Superior Performance as an AUSA.  United States Attorney Peter E. Deegan, Jr. presented Mr. Chatham with the award on December 2, 2020.

Mr. Chatham was recognized for his superior performance as a Criminal AUSA.  Since 2010, Mr. Chatham has been the Northern District of Iowa United States Attorney’s Office’s chief opioid prosecutor.  During this time, he has prosecuted over 80 opioid cases, approximately 40 of which involved opioid deaths or injuries.  These prosecutions have included six opioid overdose trials.  As a result of his work, Mr. Chatham has developed a nationally recognized expertise in the investigation and prosecution of overdose cases.  His expertise has led to nationwide invitations to speak on the subject, and frequent consultations with AUSAs from across the country.  This award recognizes that Mr. Chatham has been instrumental in the Department of Justice’s battle against opioid abuse.

Mr. Chatham has prosecuted the most difficult and noteworthy opioid cases in the Northern of District of Iowa for the last decade.  In 2015, he prosecuted the first known fentanyl dealer in the Cedar Rapids.  In response to a substantial short-term increase in opioid overdoses in the Cedar Rapids area in early 2015, investigators and Mr. Chatham aggressively investigated the sources of the fentanyl-laced heroin that was being transported to Iowa from Chicago.  Ultimately, Mr. Chatham prosecuted four defendants for distributing these drugs – drugs that resulted in two deaths and six serious bodily injuries.  The lead defendant was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Another noteworthy case prosecuted by Mr. Chatham involved a street-level heroin dealer in Dubuque, Iowa, in early 2016.  After returning from a resupply trip to Chicago, the dealer sold several grams of purported heroin to one of his customers.  The customer provided portions of the purported heroin to three friends in his car, and then another individual inside a nearby apartment.  Two of the friends in the car nearly immediately overdosed, requiring lifesaving measures by first responders.  The individual inside the apartment was found deceased the next day.  Laboratory analysis of the substances found in the car and apartment determined that the substance the dealer sold actually contained heroin and furanyl fentanyl, a fentanyl analogue that was not on the controlled substances schedules.  With Mr. Chatham as lead counsel at trial, the dealer was convicted of distribution of, and conspiracy to distribute heroin and furanyl fentanyl resulting in two serious bodily injuries and a death.  The dealer was sentenced to 252 months’ imprisonment.

Applying the principles he learned from these prior prosecutions, AUSA Chatham prosecuted another defendant in 2018 for distribution of heroin resulting in death.  This case again involved complicated issues of multiple drug toxicity, this time involving cocaine and heroin.  Mr. Chatham successfully prosecuted the defendant, with a jury finding that the heroin, and not the cocaine, caused the victim’s death.  The defendant was sentenced to life imprisonment.

“Through his outstanding work, Assistant United States Attorney Dan Chatham has prosecuted the most difficult cases involving incredibly dangerous opioids at a time when the nation has been going through an opioid crisis,” said United States Attorney Peter E. Deegan, Jr.  “Mr. Chatham showed tireless dedication, hard work, and an unyielding pursuit of justice while ensuring that those who distributed drugs that hurt and killed others were held accountable for their actions.”

EOUSA provides oversight, general executive assistance, and direction to the 94 United States Attorneys’ offices around the country. For more information on EOUSA and its mission, visit

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Updated December 9, 2020

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