CEDAR RAPIDS — A Dubuque man sentenced to 30 years in federal prison after a heroin death in Platteville in 2012 was resentenced to the same term Dec. 22 after his original sentence was invalidated by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
Alvin Stanley “Junebug” Briggs Jr., 51, pleaded guilty in June 2013 to one count of distribution of heroin resulting in death and four counts of distribution of heroin. Briggs admitted to selling heroin to a man named in the federal grand jury indictment as “S.R.” in Dubuque July 3, 2012.
Stephen Todd Rech, 28, Platteville, was found unresponsive in the front yard of a house on the 500 block of Cedar Street the next day just before 3 a.m. Rech was pronounced dead at Southwest Health in Platteville.
Briggs was sentenced to 30 years in prison and five years extended supervision in September 2013.
Briggs’ sentence was overturned as a result of a U.S. Supreme Court decision Jan. 27 that someone cannot be convicted of distributing drugs that cause death unless it can be proven that the drugs directly caused the death.
Briggs amended his plea in October to say that the buyer of the heroin would have lived had he not used the heroin Briggs sold to him. Briggs originally had admitted that the heroin he sold was a contributing factor in the death, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office news release.
Briggs was also charged with selling to a Dubuque police confidential informant 0.11 grams of heroin, and between 0.04 and 0.07 grams of heroin three times in a week, within 1,000 feet of Prescott Elementary School and Jackson Park in Dubuque, according to federal court records.
Platteville police and the Dubuque Drug Task Force investigated both cases.
According to the detention order that held Briggs without bond in 2013, Briggs told Platteville Police Detective Matthew Harcus that he had been “selling heroin and crack cocaine for the past four to five years.” The detention order also said that Briggs told federal authorities that, except when he was in prison, Briggs had used a half-gram of heroin daily for the past 10 years.
Briggs was on probation on a 2012 conviction for two counts of possession of a controlled substance. Briggs has what the detention order called “an extensive criminal record,” including a three-year prison sentence on charges of manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance, a two-year prison sentence on a California conviction for sale or transport of marijuana, and a 2009 conviction for possession of a controlled substance.
Briggs’ criminal record also includes convictions for theft, burglary, disorderly conduct — solicitation of a lewd act, possessing or selling a stolen vehicle, and charges of aggravated assault, operating a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent, possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of burglar tools, and criminal trespass.