A man who led Dubuque, Iowa, police on a high‑speed chase that ended with his car on its hood and his gun, heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine in the snow, pled guilty today in federal court in Cedar Rapids.
Richard Allen Roberts, age 39, from Chicago, Illinois, was convicted of one count of distributing crack near a playground and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
In a plea agreement, Roberts admitted that he sold about a half gram of crack cocaine to a confidential informant near Jefferson Park in Dubuque on January 26, 2021. About a week later, police tracked Roberts’s car from Dubuque to Chicago. When he returned to Iowa on February 5, 2021, officers stopped the car after it crossed the bridge into Dubuque from Wisconsin. A narcotics K9 alerted to the odor of narcotics coming from Roberts’s vehicle. After an officer asked Roberts to get out of his car, Roberts put the car in gear and fled. During the subsequent chase, Roberts’s vehicle reached speeds over 80 miles per hour and collided with a snowplow but kept going. Roberts eventually lost control of his car approximately three-and-half miles away in Illinois, flipping the car over onto a snow‑filled median. When the car was turned back over, officers found a plastic bag containing about 32 grams of powder cocaine, 44 grams of crack cocaine, over 9 grams of heroin, and 1.5 grams of heroin and fentanyl. Next to the bag was a Smith & Wesson 9mm pistol. Roberts had previously been convicted of 11 felony crimes in Illinois.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN). PSN is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
Sentencing before United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams will be set after a presentence report is prepared. Roberts remains in custody of the United States Marshal. On the drug charge, Roberts faces a mandatory minimum sentence of one year imprisonment and a possible maximum sentence of 40 years’ imprisonment, a $2,000,000 fine, and a lifetime of supervised release following any imprisonment. On the gun charge, Roberts faces a possible maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and up to three years’ supervised release.
The case was investigated by the Dubuque Drug Task Force is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dan Chatham.
Court file information at https://ecf.iand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl.
The case file number is 21‑CR‑1017‑CJW‑MAR.
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Department of Justice
Office of the U.S. Attorney
Northern District of Iowa