A man who conspired to distribute methamphetamine while in possession of a firearm pleaded guilty on July 8, 2022 in federal court in Sioux City.
Shawn Gaston, 32, of Peru, Illinois, was convicted of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and possession of a firearm in connection with a crime of drug trafficking.
At the plea hearing, Gaston admitted from February 2020 to October 2021, he and others distributed methamphetamine in northern Iowa and elsewhere. In October 2021, law enforcement in Clay County, Iowa attempted to perform a traffic stop on a vehicle Gaston was driving. Gaston led law enforcement on a long, high-speed chase with Gaston’s vehicle which ultimately crashed into a creek in Dickinson County, Iowa. Gaston exited the vehicle after the crash and threw a gun and methamphetamine approximately 20 yards from the vehicle before being apprehended. Gaston has already been convicted of at least four felony convictions, including possession of stolen property and possession of drugs. These convictions prohibit Gaston from owning a firearm.
Sentencing before U.S. District Court Chief Judge Leonard T. Strand will be set after a pre-sentence report is prepared. Gaston remains in the custody of the United States Marshal pending sentencing. Gaston faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years with 10 years imprisonment for the drug convictions plus a consecutive sentence of 5 years imprisonment for the gun conviction and a possible maximum sentence of life imprisonment, a fine of $20,500,000 and a lifetime supervised release following any incarceration.
This case was brought within the framework of the Safe Neighborhoods Project (PSN). The NSP is the centerpiece of the Justice Department’s violent crime reduction efforts. The NSP is an evidence-based program that has been shown to be effective in reducing violent crime. Through the PSN, a wide range of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime issues in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, the PSN focuses its law enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with local prevention and rehabilitation programs for a lasting reduction in crime.
The case was investigated by the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, Iowa Great Lakes Drug Task Force, Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, Spencer Police Department, HEAT, Minnesota River Valley Drug Task Force, Minnesota BCA , Worthington Police Department, Wisconsin DCI, Sauk County Wisconsin Sheriff’s Office, Iowa-Grant Wisconsin Drug Task Force, Crawford County Wisconsin Sheriff’s Office, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Iowa DCI Laboratory. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Patrick T. Greenwood
Court records information at https://ecf.iand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl.
The file number is 21-4094. Follow us on Twitter @USAO_NDIA.