Final member of meth ring that tried to kill government informant sentenced to prison

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – The final member of a methamphetamine drug trafficking organization that attempted to murder a suspected government witness to protect itself was sentenced to more than three years imprisonment on Wednesday.

Zachary Moorhouse, 37, of Sioux City, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance on December 19, 2019.

According to recent documents, evidence that was presented by the United States at the detention, change of plea, and sentencing hearings for this case revealed that Isaac McDonald, Oscar Garcia, Andrew Nissen, Jessica Rose Ott, William David Schoen, and Moorehouse conspired to sell methamphetamine in the Sioux City area within 1,000 feet of a local playground from January 1, 2018, to about March 6, 2019.

At some point, certain members of the drug conspiracy began to suspect another individual was cooperating with the police and providing information regarding their illegal activities.

On August 1, 2018, Ott got into a car already occupied by McDonald, Garcia, and Nissen, and informed of the suspected informant’s location.

Nissen, who was armed with handguns, drove the car to the suspected informant’s location.

McDonald and Garcia were also armed with handguns, got out of the car, and approached the suspected informant.

The suspected informant saw the gunmen coming and tried to escape by driving away, but didn’t get far as McDonald began firing.

A bullet that McDonald fired passed through the suspected informant’s head causing him to lose control of his vehicle and crash into a tree.

The members of the drug conspiracy assumed he was dead. Mcdonald then returned to the car with the other three members and sped away.

Fortunately, the suspected informant was not killed in the attack and crash. There were also no other injuries reported, including a person hiding in the back of the suspected informant’s vehicle despite the multiple rounds McDonald fired.

Moorhouse was the driver during the drug sales and supply runs. He allegedly invested small amounts of his own money in the conspiracy and he personally distributed methamphetamine to a handful of the conspiracy’s customers.

Moorehouse was also not involved with the violence mounted to protect the organization. Similarly, while Schoen participated in the drug trafficking conspiracy, and later violently resisted arrest, he did not participate in the shooting of the suspected informant.

“As this case demonstrates, drug trafficking poses a significant threat to the safety of our communities. Our office will hold accountable anyone who uses weapons or threats of violence to distribute drugs. We commend all of our federal and state law enforcement partners that participated in this investigation. Through their hard work and dedication, they ensured these violent individuals are off of our streets and have made us all safer,” United States Attorney Peter Deegan said.

“This case highlights how effective programs like Project Safe Neighborhood/Project Guardian are at encouraging productive working relationships between local and federal authorities. Working as a team operating off the same playbook creates a seamless flow of intelligence and direction to facilitate iron-clad casework. We continue to value the working relationship we enjoy with the United States Attorney’s Office and our local federal law enforcement agencies. The partnerships established for the mutual benefit of positive public safety make Sioux City a better place to live, and led to countless successful federal prosecutions of dangerous offenders,” Sioux City Police Chief Rex Mueller added.

On October 30, 2019, Ander Nissen, who was the getaway driver, was sentenced to 188 months’ imprisonment and was ordered to make restitution to the suspected informant. He must also serve an eight-year term of supervised release following his prison sentence. There is no parole in the federal system.

On December 5, 2019, Jessica Ott, the person who provided the firearm for the shooting and the location of the suspected informant, was sentenced to 180 months’ imprisonment and was ordered to make restitution to the suspected informant. She must also serve an eight-month term of supervised release following her prison sentence. There is no parole in the federal system.

On December 11, 2019, Isaac McDonald, the shooter, was sentenced to 300 months’ imprisonment and was ordered to make restitution to the suspected informant. He must also serve an eight-year term of supervised release following his prison term. There is no parole in the federal system.

On January 3, 2020, Oscar Garcia, the armed wingman/second gunman, was sentenced to 180 months’ imprisonment and was ordered to make restitution to the suspected informant. He must also serve an eight-year term of supervised release following his prison term. There is no parole in the federal system.

On January 7, 2020, William Schoen, a violent member of the conspiracy, was sentenced to 147 months’ imprisonment. He must also serve a five-year term of supervised release following his prison sentence. There is no parole in the federal system.

On April 29, 2020, Zachary Moorehouse, a member of the conspiracy, was sentenced to 40 months’ imprisonment. He must also serve a five-year term of supervised release following his prison sentence. There is no parole in the federal system.

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