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WATERLOO — Prosecutors want to return a displaced sex offender to Waterloo after dropping criminal charges against him for health reasons.

Jason Michael DePaul is currently at a Bureau of Prisons facility in North Carolina where he apparently underwent an exam, and his defense attorney wants him transported to Minnesota, where he’s from.

But the government argued in court it’s cheaper for the taxpayers to return him to Waterloo, where he was initially arrested.

DePaul, 44, was detained in July 2018 when he was found in a vacant building in the 900 block of Mulberry Street.

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He was required to register as a sex offender because of a 1997 conviction for molesting a 14-year-old girl in Olmstead County, Minnesota. Apparently he didn’t register the vacant Waterloo house as his residence, and a federal grand jury filed an indictment charging him with failing to register in U.S. District Court for Northern Iowa.

The registration case was put on hold in November for reasons that remain sealed, but by July prosecutors decided to drop the charges citing medical and mental health reasons and indicating he was “deemed incompetent to stand trial and is facing a serious medical condition.”

The government asked that the case be dismissed without prejudice, which allows authorities to reinstate the charges later if something changes.

Records indicate DePaul is at the Federal Medical Center at Butner, N.C. Among other things, the facility is the Bureau of Prison’s largest medical operation and houses oncology and behavioral science programs.

The task of transporting DePaul falls on the U.S. Marshal Service, and court records indicate the trip will require an air ambulance with a price tag around $14,000. The difference between Iowa and Minnesota destinations involves a ground ambulance ride and additional time for deputy marshals to travel to a hospice in Crow Wing County, Minnesota, and back.

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