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United States v. Howard

United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Eastern Division

August 21, 2014



JON STUART SCOLES, Chief Magistrate Judge.

On the 20th day of August, 2014, this matter came on for hearing on the Government's request to have the Defendant detained prior to trial. The Government was represented by Assistant United States Attorney Justin Lightfoot. The Defendant appeared personally and was represented by his attorney, Max S. Wolson.


On August 13, 2014, Defendant Dwayne Howard was charged by Indictment (docket number 2) with four counts of distribution of a controlled substance near a protected location. At the arraignment on August 18, 2014, Defendant entered a plea of not guilty and trial was scheduled before Chief Judge Linda R. Reade on October 20, 2014.

Special Agent Joshua Mullnix of the Iowa Department of Narcotics Enforcement testified regarding the circumstances underlying the instant charge. A confidential source provided information that a subject, later identified as Defendant Dwayne Howard, was selling crack cocaine out of Wayne's Candy in Dubuque. On January 8, 2014, the confidential source and Mullnix, acting in an undercover capacity, went to Wayne's Candy. After being introduced by the confidential source, Mullnix accompanied Defendant to the back room, where Defendant used a scale to bag up crack cocaine. Mullnix paid Defendant $250 in exchange for the drugs.

On January 10, 2014, Special Agent Mullnix called Defendant and arranged to purchase additional crack cocaine at the store. Mullnix went to the store and paid Defendant $300 in exchange for crack cocaine. On January 21, 2014, Mullnix purchased an additional $300 of crack cocaine from Defendant, under nearly identical circumstances. On February 10, 2014, Mullnix contacted Defendant regarding the purchase of crack cocaine, but Defendant did not want to meet at the store. Mullnix then met Defendant near the intersection of Washington Avenue and 15th Street in Dubuque, where Defendant gave Mullnix crack cocaine in exchange for $300. In each case, the drugs lab-tested positive for crack cocaine.

Following the transaction on February 10, 2014, authorities obtained a search warrant for the candy store and the apartment overhead, where Defendant was living. Defendant was at the store when the search was conducted and $300 was found on Defendant's person. The money matched the pre-serialized money paid by Special Agent Mullnix earlier that day in the drug transaction. No drugs were found on the premises, and Defendant denied selling drugs.

Special Agent Mullnix testified that he later learned that Defendant had been stopped on the prior evening during a traffic stop in Illinois. Authorities seized $3, 700 in cash found in a sock, and an additional $600 on Defendant's person. A drug dog alerted on the car, but no drugs were found.

According to the pretrial services report, Defendant is 35 years old. He was born in Chicago, but moved with his family to Michigan and then Mississippi when he was a child. He has never been married, but has two children (ages 11 and 6) from two prior relationships. The children reside with their mothers in Chicago. Prior to his arrest, Defendant was living with his girlfriend in Dubuque. Defendant's girlfriend reported that she is pregnant with Defendant's child.

For the past three weeks, Defendant has been working sporadically through Labor Ready, a temporary employment agency. Prior to that, he was the proprietor of Wayne's Candy for approximately one year. Defendant reported that he earned approximately $2, 000 over the past year as proprietor of his candy store.

Defendant has asthma, for which he is prescribed medication, but is otherwise in good physical health. He denied any history of mental health issues. Defendant admitted that he has used marijuana multiple times per day for the past two months, with his last use being on the day of his arrest.

Defendant has a lengthy prior criminal record. Between ages 18 and 22, Defendant was charged in Cook County, Illinois, with aggravated assault, damage to property (twice), possession of cannabis (twice), unlawful use of a weapon, carrying a weapon, gambling, criminal trespass, disorderly conduct (three times), and aggravated assault. With two exceptions, all of the charges were "stricken from the docket with leave to reinstate." Defendant received two years probation on the firearm charge, and the disposition of the gambling charge is unknown.

Between 2001 and 2006, Defendant has convictions for providing false information to a law enforcement officer, driving while revoked (three times), trespass, assault causing bodily injury, possession of a controlled substance, driving while barred (twice), and domestic abuse assault. He was also charged three times in Cook County for possession of cannabis, with two charges stricken from the docket with leave to reinstate, and the disposition of the third charge unknown.

In November 2008, Defendant was charged and later convicted in Boone County, Illinois, with unlawful possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. He was sentenced to six years in prison and was paroled in November 2011. Defendant remains on parole in Illinois. Defendant's parole agent in Illinois advised the pretrial services officer that he was unaware Defendant had been residing in Dubuque, and had told Defendant that he would not be allowed to reside outside the state of Illinois. Defendant's parole officer ...

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