Law enforcement agencies in the Cedar Rapids area continue to make
communities safer by partnering to reduce gun related crimes and
violence. United States Attorney Peter E. Deegan, Jr. announced charges
and arrests in eleven federal gun cases within the last 30 days.
“COVID 19 has not affected federal, state and local law enforcement’s
unwavering commitment to investigating and prosecuting offenses
involving firearms,” said United States Attorney Peter E. Deegan, Jr.
“Convicted felons, drug users, and those who have committed domestic
violence are legally barred from possessing guns or ammunition. Those
that do will be held accountable.”
“The Cedar Rapids Police Department appreciates the continued
partnership with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern
District of Iowa as we are both concerned about violent crime,” said
Cedar Rapids Chief of Police Wayne Jerman. “Our community is safer
today because of the commitment of the U.S. Attorney to prosecute crimes
involving the use or possession of illegal drugs and firearms. In some
cases, convicted felons, who are not allowed to lawfully possess a gun,
are accused of further crimes committed while in possession of a
firearm. This is particularly concerning and the reason that we value
the work of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in helping us hold individuals
Special Agent in Charge Kristi Johnson of the FBI noted, “These
charges and arrests prove our partnerships with local law enforcement
and the communities we serve are crucial to the mission against gun
ATF Special Agent in Charge of the Kansas City Field Division Marino
Vidoli said, “As these cases show, ATF and our law enforcement partners
in the Cedar Rapids area are absolutely committed to finding those who
use firearms to threaten or inflict harm on members of our community,
and bringing them to justice.”
The work of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies has
resulted in the following charges in federal court in Cedar Rapids in
the last month:
Trever Carl Christopherson, age 31, Rhamond Bolden, age 26, Thomas
Anthony Wallace, age 33, Jerell Jackson, age 23, Tony Rhen Brown, age
59, Daniel James Abbott, age 48, and Henry Wilke Eilders, age 42, all of
the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, area, have been charged with various violations
of federal law including being a prohibited person in possession of a
firearm. The charges are contained in complaints and indictments filed
within the last 30 days in United States District Court in Cedar
Rapids. Four additional defendants, whose charges remain under seal,
have also been charged with violating federal firearm laws.
The indictment against Abbott alleges that in September and October
of 2019, he possessed multiple firearms while being an unlawful user of
methamphetamine. The indictment also alleges that two firearms seized
in September of 2019 were possessed by Abbott in furtherance of a drug
trafficking crime, specifically possession with intent to distribute
methamphetamine. An additional four guns were seized as part of this
investigation in March 2020. The case file is 20-CR-32.
The indictment against Eilders alleges that in March 2020, Eilders
possessed a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime,
specifically conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture or
substance containing methamphetamine and or 50 grams or more of pure
methamphetamine, and possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or
more of a mixture or substance containing methamphetamine. This case is
part of a larger drug-trafficking investigation, wherein investigators
seized a gun from Eilder’s co-defendant, George Ashby, age 60, from
Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Ashby is facing drug and gun charges as well. The
case file is 20-CR-00027.
The indictments filed against Christopherson and Jackson allege that
each possessed a firearm while being an unlawful user of a controlled
substance. Christopherson is alleged to have been a methamphetamine
user while possessing a firearm. Jackson is alleged to have been a
marijuana user while possessing a firearm.
The indictment filed against Bolden alleges that he possessed a
firearm as a felon. Bolden is a felon based on a prior federal
conviction for being a drug user in possession of a firearm.
The indictment filed against Wallace alleges that he possessed a
firearm while being an unlawful user of marijuana and after having two
prior convictions for domestic abuse.
The indictment filed against Brown alleges that he possessed two
firearms while being an unlawful user of heroin and after having
previously been convicted of two felonies. Brown has also been charged
with conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture of
substance containing methamphetamine.
If convicted on these charges, all defendants face at least a
possible maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine,
$100 in special assessments, and three years of supervised release
following any imprisonment.
As with any criminal case, a charge is merely an accusation and each
defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
The cases were brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN).
PSN is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime
reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be
effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of
stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime
problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address
them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the
most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and
reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
These cases were investigated by the Cedar Rapids Police Department,
the Marion Police Department, the Hiawatha Police Department, the Linn
County Sheriff’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau
of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Iowa Division of
Narcotics Enforcement, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.