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Press Release

Two More Sentenced to Federal Prison in Cedar Rapids Heroin and Fentanyl Wiretap Case

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

Two men who distributed large quantities of heroin laced with fentanyl and fentanyl analogues were sentenced this week to a total of more than six years in federal prison.

Jerry Dwyane Banghart, age 31, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, received his prison term after an April 8, 2022 guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.  Thomas Nathaniel May, age 27, from Seattle, Washington, received his prison term after a June 2, 2022 guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.

Evidence at a prior hearing showed that, during an early 2021 wiretap investigation involving a large-scale heroin distributor in Cedar Rapids named Brian Dennis, May was identified as one of the top callers to Dennis’s phone, and Banghart was also identified as a regular caller to the phone.  May was typically purchasing at least 3.5 grams of heroin and upwards of 10.5 grams of heroin per day from Dennis and his associates, totaling well over 100 grams in a six-week period.  In April 2021, May was arrested after meeting with Dennis and found in possession of 7.39 grams of a substance containing heroin, fentanyl, and synthetic opioids acetyl fentanyl, parafluorofentanyl and metonitazene.  Information presented at sentencing showed that Banghart obtained over 50 grams of heroin from Dennis, including obtaining nearly 10.5 grams of a mixture containing heroin, fentanyl, and synthetic opioids acetyl fentanyl, parafluorofentanyl and metonitazene at one time, which Banghart then distributed to another member of the conspiracy.

Four other individuals, Cody Scott Deklotz, Andrew James Lehman, Ryan Rick Schlitter, and Melinda Salvatora Werning, previously pled guilty to the heroin conspiracy and have been sentenced.  Ryan Rick Schlitter was sentenced to 46 months’ imprisonment.  Andrew James Lehman was sentenced to 10 months and 16 days’ imprisonment.  Cody Scott Deklotz was sentenced to 84 months’ imprisonment.  Melinda Salvatora Werning was sentenced to 12 months’ and one day imprisonment.  Four other individuals charged in the same indictment, including Dennis, have pled guilty and are awaiting sentencing.

Banghart and May were sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams.  Banghart was sentenced to 46 months’ imprisonment and May was sentenced to 31 months’ imprisonment.  Each man must also serve a 3-year term of supervised release after the prison term.  There is no parole in the federal system.

Banghart and May 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 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; and the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dan Chatham

Court file information at

The case file number is 21‑CR‑32‑CJW.

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Updated October 7, 2022

Drug Trafficking