Dubuque men plead guilty to meth charge related to apartment fir - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque men plead guilty to meth charge related to apartment fire

Posted: Updated:
DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

Two Dubuque men have pleaded guilty to a federal methamphetamine charge related to a Dubuque apartment fire that happened on Feb. 20.

John Starks Sr., 46, and Casey Duhme, 24, were each convicted of conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine near a school.

The two pleaded guilty in federal court in Cedar Rapids on June 25 and 26 as part of a plea agreement.

According to a release from the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Northern District of Iowa, both men admitted they agreed with others to manufacture methamphetamine from Feb. 16 through Feb. 20. 

Starks and Duhme both admitted they'd obtained pseudoephedrine during that time. Starks also admitted he purchased lye. Both substances were intended for use in the meth-making process.

The two were making the meth in the Dubuque apartment building where Starks lived, in the 1000 block of White Street, at the intersection of White and East 11th Streets.

The apartment housed multiple families and was located across East 11th Street from Prescott Elementary School.

The attempt to make meth caused a fire to break out in the upstairs bathroom of Starks' apartment during the early morning hours of Feb. 20. As a result, Starks received significant burns on his hands.

Within a few minutes of the fire starting, Starks, Duhme and a third person fled the apartment. They did not call 911 or alert anybody about the fire.

STORY: Neighbors displaced by meth fire speak out

Several minutes later, a police officer doing routine patrol noticed smoke coming from the apartment building and evacuated the residents. The building's roof collapsed shortly after the evacuation.

The building is no longer usable.

The men's sentencing before U.S. District Court Chief Judge Linda R. Reade will be set after pre sentence reports are prepared.

Starks and Duhme remain in the U.S. Marshal's custody. They each face a mandatory minimum sentence of one year imprisonment and a possible maximum sentence of 40 years behind bars plus a $2 million fine, $100 in special assessments and at least six years -- up to a life term -- of supervised release following any imprisonment.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin Lightfoot is prosecuting the case and the Dubuque Drug Task Force, Dubuque Police Department and Dubuque Fire Department investigated the case.

  • NEWSNEWSMore>>

  • Holder says he understands mistrust of police

    Holder says he understands mistrust of police

    Thursday, August 21 2014 1:26 AM EDT2014-08-21 05:26:47 GMT
    Police and protesters in Ferguson were finally able to share the streets again at night, putting aside for at least a few hours some of the hostility that had filled those hours with tear gas and smoke.More >>
    Attorney General Eric Holder sought Wednesday to reassure the people of Ferguson about the investigation into Michael Brown's death and said he understands why many black Americans do not trust police, recalling how he...More >>
  • Summer learning loss prevented through Dubuque program

    Summer learning loss prevented through Dubuque program

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 11:50 PM EDT2014-08-21 03:50:02 GMT
    St. Mark Youth Enrichment in Dubuque provided summer learning assistance to more than 100 students entering first through fifth grades, and the results were positive.More >>
    St. Mark Youth Enrichment in Dubuque provided summer learning assistance to more than 100 students entering first through fifth grades, and the results were positive.More >>
  • School administrators explain heat-related closings

    School administrators explain heat-related closings

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 11:48 PM EDT2014-08-21 03:48:22 GMT
    When classes are canceled because of heat, school administrators say they're ready to implement a communication plan to notify parents which includes notifications via email and cell phone.More >>
    When classes are canceled because of heat, school administrators say they're ready to implement a communication plan to notify parents which includes notifications via email and cell phone.More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KWWL. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service and Mobile Privacy Policy & Terms of Service.

Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Administrative Assistant Sandy Youngblut at 319-291-1259. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at fccinfo@fcc.gov.