Chase Daniel Zerba, age 20, from Coggon, Iowa, Tyler Michael Clemens, age 23, from Alburnett, Iowa, and Cameron Lee Klouda, age 21, from Coggon, Iowa, have each been charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute marijuana and using, carrying, brandishing, and discharging a firearm during a drug trafficking crime. Zerba and Clemens have also been charged with being drug users in possession of a firearm. The charges are contained in an Indictment unsealed today in United States District Court in Cedar Rapids.
Dillon Craig Beener, age 21, and Kordell Maurice Jones, age 19, both from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, have each been charged with one count of attempted robbery and using, carrying, and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence. The charges are contained in a Complaint unsealed on July 11, 2018, in United States District Court in Cedar Rapids.
The Complaint alleges that, on February 1, 2017, law enforcement officers responded to an address in Coggon after receiving a 911 call regarding a shooting. When officers arrived, they located an individual deceased in the front yard of the residence. This individual had been shot at close range with a shotgun.
According to the allegations in the Complaint, prior to the shooting, the victim of the shooting along with Beener and Jones, left Cedar Rapids to travel to Coggon. The complaint alleges that their intent was to meet Zerba and rob him of marijuana. The three men brought a .40 caliber Hi-Point pistol with them to use during the robbery. When they arrived at Zerba’s residence, Clemens, Klouda, and Zerba were all seated in a minivan parked in the driveway. Beener approached the minivan and spoke with the three people in it. Beener then returned to his car, and the victim, Beener, and Jones approached the minivan to meet with Zerba, Clemens, and Klouda. The victim was in possession of the firearm and spoke briefly to the occupants of the minivan. He then raised his firearm and demanded that Zerba provide them with the marijuana. Zerba yelled “get it up” and one of the occupants of the minivan fired one round from a shotgun out the passenger side window into the victim’s head.
It is also alleged that during a search of the scene, police located $60 in the victim’s pocket. A .40 caliber Hi-Point pistol was located near his body. The pistol was loaded, with a round in the chamber and the safety off. In the minivan, police located marijuana in a backpack in the left rear seat “stow and go” compartment. The marijuana was packaged in six separate containers and totaled 386.91 grams of marijuana. Police also located multiple jars of marijuana wax in this same backpack.
If convicted on all charges, Zerba, Clemens, and Klouda face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment and a possible maximum sentence of life imprisonment, at least $500,000 in fines, and at least five years of supervised release following any imprisonment. Beener and Jones face a mandatory minimum sentence of 7 years’ imprisonment and a possible maximum sentence of life imprisonment, a $500,000 fine, and six years of supervised release following any imprisonment.
Jones appeared on July 11, 2018, in federal court in Cedar Rapids and was held without bond pending a preliminary and detention hearing on July 16, 2018. Zerba, Clemens, and Klouda appeared today in federal court in Cedar Rapids and were held without bond pending a detention hearing on July 16, 2018.
As with any criminal case, a charge is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Lisa C. Williams and investigated by the Linn County Sheriff’s Office.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that has been historically successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made turning the tide of rising violent crime in America a top priority. In October 2017, as part of a series of actions to address this crime trend, Attorney General Sessions announced the reinvigoration of PSN and directed all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to develop a district crime reduction strategy that incorporates the lessons learned since PSN launched in 2001.
Court file information at https://ecf.iand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl.
The case file numbers are 18-cr-0059 and 18-mj-00237.