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A man who conspired to distribute heroin, fentanyl, and other synthetic opioids pled guilty today in federal court in Cedar Rapids.

Ryan Rick Schlitter, age 39, from Vinton, Iowa, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to distribute heroin.

In a plea agreement, Schlitter admitted that he obtained distribution quantities of heroin through a group of heroin dealers based out of Cedar Rapids. During a federal wiretap investigation in 2021, investigators intercepted calls between one of the dealers and an associate of Schlitter's. After the intercepted calls, Schlitter and his associate drove to meet with the dealer. The associate purchased over seven grams of a substance containing heroin, fentanyl, and the synthetic opioids acetyl fentanyl, parafluorofentanyl, and metonitazene. Officers stopped the vehicle and seized the drugs, which Schlitter admitted that he possessed and intended to distribute to others. Schlitter also admitted that, in June 2021, he sold $200 worth of a substance containing heroin, acetyl fentanyl, and fentanyl during an undercover operation in Cedar Rapids.

Sentencing before United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams will be set after a presentence report is prepared. Schlitter remains in custody of the United States Marshal pending sentencing. Schlitter faces a possible maximum sentence of 20 years' imprisonment, a $1,000,000 fine, and a lifetime of supervised release following any imprisonment.

The case was investigated by 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 is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dan Chatham.

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