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Mount Hope man charged with drug, gun crimes

MOUNT HOPE - A Grant County man has been indicted by a federal grand jury on drug and gun charges.

Dustin Caya, 34, of Mount Hope, formerly of Bagley, has been charged in federal court with possession of 50 grams or more of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute, possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and being a felon in possession of firearms. 

Caya was charged following indictment by a federal grand jury in the Western District of Wisconsin, sitting in Madison on Wednesday, Aug. 1. The indictment alleges that on June 1, 2018, he possessed methamphetamine and a loaded .22 caliber rifle. The indictment also alleges that on June 1, 2018, he possessed 17 firearms that were loaded, including nine rifles, three shotguns, and five handguns. 

If convicted, Caya faces a mandatory minimum penalty of five years and a maximum of 40 years in federal prison on the methamphetamine charge.  The charge of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime has a mandatory penalty of five years in prison, which would be served consecutive to any term imposed on the methamphetamine charge.  The felon in possession charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years.

The charges against Caya are the result of an investigation by the Grant County Sheriff’s Department, Richland-Iowa-Grant Drug Task Force, Prairie du Chien Police Department, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Darren Halverson is handling the prosecution of this case.

Caya was arrested at his home, 8202 Valley View Road, in rural Mount Hope. He currently remains in state custody on a probation hold. He will be transferred to federal custody pending his trial in federal court. That trial date has not yet been set.

Other charges

Charges are also still open against Caya for a March 9 arrest in Iowa County for felony possession of methamphetamine. A bench warrant was issued for his arrest after Caya failed to appear in court on June 26.

Caya is currently being sued in Grant County Circuit Court by the state for $10,505. A civil trial is scheduled for Aug. 24.

Prior convictions include:

• On April 21, 2015, Caya entered a no contest plea to two counts of theft of movable property less than $2,500 and was placed on one-year probation;

• On Oct. 30, 2013, Caya pled to reduced charges of party to burglary, three counts of felony bail jumping, two counts of theft of movable property less than $2,500, and possession of methamphetamine in two sets of charges stemming from incidents on April 3, 2013 and June 15, 2013. He served two years in prison;

• On April 2013, Caya entered into a plea deal, pleading guilty to felony possession of methamphetamine, misdemeanor possession of THC, and misdemeanor carrying a concealed weapon stemming from a Dec. 23, 2012 incident. He was given three years probation with imprisonment withheld. That probation was later revoked and he served one year in prison; and

• In Feb. 2002, Caya was convicted of a reduced battery charge stemming from an Oct. 31, 2001 incident. The original charge was for child abuse.