The owner of a deli in downtown Iowa City has pleaded guilty to allegations he sold marijuana and used the proceeds to keep his business afloat.
Ryan Foust, 27, owner of Iowa City’s Hawk Dawgs Deli & Grill, agreed to a plea deal with prosecutors last month, and he’s scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 31 in Johnson County Court.
Foust was arrested in March on suspicion of a controlled substance violation, money laundering and failure to affix a tax stamp, all felonies, after police on Feb. 14 executed a search warrant at an address in North Liberty and reported finding a half pound of marijuana.
Officers also discovered more than $7,000 in cash and multiple long guns and hand guns during that search, according to a criminal complaint. Foust, according to the report, told investigators that he used money gained from distributing marijuana to keep Hawk Dawgs in business.
On at least one occasion, police reported, someone bought marijuana from Foust’s business partner, and the cash was recovered from Hawk Dawgs as change from a food purchase.
Investigators who searched the North Liberty residence found smoking devices and evidence that marijuana was regularly ingested in the house, according to the complaint. It’s unclear how Foust is connected to the address. The Secretary of State’s Office lists Foust’s address on Plaenview Drive in Iowa City.
An answering machine for the Hawk Dawgs restaurant was full on Tuesday – just as it was in March when a Gazette reporter tried to contact the business and Foust. The online link to the business’ website is invalid, and its Facebook page has been taken down.
The business license, which was issued in 2009, is still active, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.