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Press Release

C-Block Gang Leader Convicted of Drug and Firearms Offenses

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

DES MOINES, Iowa – On January 30, 2020, following a four-day trial, a jury found Daeron Johnson Merrett guilty of conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine, 8 counts of distribution of a controlled substance, one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine, and one count of possessing a firearm as a felon. The case was presided over by United States District Court Judge Rebecca Goodgame Ebinger. Sentencing is scheduled for May 29, 2020, at 9:00 a.m.

Merrett was arrested on March 27, 2019, during the coordinated execution of search and arrest warrants in Des Moines. Merrett was identified from the criminal complaint affidavit as a leader of C-Block, a criminal street gang based in Des Moines. In December 2018, law enforcement obtained authorization to intercept Merrett’s telephone communications, which led to the identification of Merrett’s cocaine trafficking network.

During trial, the government presented evidence that Merrett began traveling to Chicago, Illinois in January 2019 to obtain cocaine for distribution in Des Moines. Over the course of a one-month period, Merrett made four separate trips to Chicago to obtain cocaine, totaling over 500 grams. The evidence also showed that Merrett developed a Texas-based cocaine source of supply, from which he arranged to receive a kilogram of cocaine. Merrett had numerous cocaine customers and co-conspirators in Des Moines, many of whom were charged in the same Indictment and have entered guilty pleas.

On March 27, 2019, during a search warrant executed at Merrett’s Des Moines residence, law enforcement located cocaine, numerous digital scales, packaging materials, a loaded firearm, and various rounds of ammunition.

Merrett has a prior conviction for a serious drug felony, that is, a 2011 conviction in the Iowa District Court for Polk County for delivery of a controlled substance.

Conspiracy to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine following a conviction for a serious drug felony carries a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of ten years and a
maximum term of imprisonment of life.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Central Iowa Gang Task Force, Des Moines Police Department, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Drug Enforcement Administration, Dallas County Sheriff’s Office, Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Story County Sheriff’s Office, and the Altoona Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Mikaela J. Shotwell and Adam J. Kerndt.


Rachel J. Scherle

Updated January 31, 2020

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses