INDEPENDENCE — An Independence, Iowa, man who was found frozen in a field with a pistol and bags of meth last winter has pleaded guilty to drug and firearm charges.
Troy Donovan Postel-Vargason, 35, also pleaded guilty to gun charges in connection with a 100-mph chase from LeClaire to Clinton County in August.
Postel-Vargason entered his pleas to charges of possession of meth with intent to distribute, possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking and two counts of felon in possession of a firearm Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids. Sentencing will be at a later date.
According to court records, Independence paramedics were called to a field two blocks from Postel-Vargason’s home on First Street East on Feb. 9. At the time, Postel-Vargason was shivering and unable to move and suffering from frostbite, and medics were concerned his toes may need to be amputated because of damage from the cold, court records state.
He was holding an Under Armour drawstring bag that contained two gallon-sized bags with an estimated 500 grams of ice meth, court records state.
Medics transferred Postel-Vargason to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City for treatment. Authorities believe he had left his home the prior night following an argument and spent the night in the field, records state.
Officers who responded to the field found about $600 in cash and a 9 mm Hi-Point handgun with an obliterated serial number. Investigators restored the Hi-Point’s serial number and determined the gun had belonged to an Independence resident whose home was burglarized in November 2016.
A search of Postel-Vargason’s own home yielded a .380-caliber Ruger pistol, according to court records.
In April, federal authorities charged Postel-Vargason with gun and drug charges in the field incident, but authorities were unable to locate him at the time.
On Aug. 15, a LeClaire police officer attempted to stop his Ford Escape after a Scott County deputy observed him with a gun and a machete, according to court records. The chase reached speeds of more than 100 mph in 55 and 65 mph zones, and he allegedly threw a 9 mm Ruger handgun with a scratched-off serial number from his vehicle during the chase, records state.
The pursuit continued until his tires were deflated, and he was arrested on state charges of operating while intoxicated, eluding and felon in possession of a firearm in Clinton County in connection with the chase, record state.
Postel-Vargason also is awaiting trial on eluding charges in Black Hawk County stemming from a Dec. 1, 2016, pursuit. A sheriff’s deputy attempted to stop him for running a red light at Raymond and Dunkerton roads at 2:45 a.m., and the 120-mph chase lasted about 40 minutes and ended when his vehicle was cornered in a residential yard. He was allegedly carrying a club when he was arrested.