A Dubuque man accused of dealing drugs who was arrested in a sting following an overdose death now faces a federal charge.

Carl R. Watkins, 29, of 1910½ Ellis St., is charged in U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, with possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. Correspondingly, two state-level counts of felony possession of heroin with intent to deliver were dismissed recently.

State and federal court documents indicate that authorities found Cayla Jo Mutert, 26, dead inside 3708 Pennsylvania Ave., Apt. F53, on the night of Aug. 5. of “an apparent drug overdose.”

During the ensuing investigation, Mutert’s boyfriend, Jerome McKinley, 50, admitted to driving her to the area of Wilson and Roberts streets, where they picked up Watkins, documents state.


Deleted text messages on Mutert’s phone with a subject listed as “Country” — Watkins’ nickname — appear to be talking about heroin in coded language, according to the documents.

On Aug. 6, investigators used Mutert’s phone to set up another drug deal with “Country” at the same location. When Watkins approached the investigators’ vehicle, he was arrested.

Documents state that Watkins did not have drugs on him, but authorities later found a plastic baggie containing a substance that included fentanyl in the area where the arrest took place.

Watkins admitted to using drugs and to selling marijuana and ecstasy from time to time, but he denied selling heroin, documents state.

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