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Plea deal made in heroin death
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CEDAR RAPIDS — A 50-year-old Dubuque man charged in connection with the death of a Platteville man July 4 pleaded guilty to federal charges Thursday.

Alvin Stanley “Junebug” Briggs Jr. was scheduled to go to trial July 1 on one count distribution of heroin resulting in death and four counts of distribution of heroin. Briggs originally pleaded not guilty to the five charges at his arraignment March 25.

Briggs faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years with supervised release to a maximum of life imprisonment, in addition to $1 million in fines. U.S. District Court Chief Judge Linda R. Reade will sentence Briggs after a presentence report is completed.

In U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids, Briggs admitted that he sold $100 in heroin to a man  named in the federal grand jury indictment as “S.R.” on July 3.

Stephen Todd Rech, 28, Platteville, was found unresponsive in the front yard of a house on the 500 block of Cedar Street July 4 just before 3 a.m. Rech was pronounced dead at Southwest Health Center in Platteville.

According to the detention order that held Briggs without bond, 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 has used a half-gram of heroin daily for the past 10 years.

Briggs was also charged with selling to a Dubuque police confidential informant 0.11 grams of heroin Jan. 9, and between 0.04 and 0.07 grams of heroin three times between Jan. 29 and Feb. 6 for $50 each.

The sales took place within 1,000 feet of Prescott Elementary School and Jackson Park in Dubuque, according to federal court records.

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.