News and Press Releases

Waterloo Man To Server 30 Years In Federal Prison For Marijuana, Gun, And Witness Tampering Charges

June 21, 2012

Contact: Peter Deegan

A marijuana dealer who possessed firearms and intimidated witnesses was sentenced today to 30 years in federal prison.

Quintel Phillips, 27, from Waterloo, Iowa, received the prison term after a February 29, 2012 jury verdict finding him guilty of six separate counts, including distribution of marijuana, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, possession of a firearm as a felon and as an unlawful drug user, and two counts related to witness tampering. The jury found that the drug crimes took place within 1,000 feet of an elementary school.

Evidence at trial showed Phillips sold high grade marijuana out of his girlfriend’s residence in Waterloo. One sale was made to a confidential informant under police surveillance. The confidential informant testified that Phillips was carrying a handgun during the sale. Law enforcement later searched the residence and found additional marijuana, along with evidence that Phillips intended to sell the marijuana, including plastic baggies and digital scales. Phillips also had a large amount of cash in his pocket, despite having no verifiable employment. Police recovered a loaded handgun with a scratched off serial number located under a pillow on a bed near the marijuana. A second serial number on the firearm had not been scratched off, and authorities were able to trace the firearm and determine that it had been reported stolen.

While Phillips was awaiting trial on the drug and gun crimes, he called a third-party using the jail’s recorded phone system and instructed the third-party to call the confidential informant and pass along an intimidating message. Phillips gave the third-party the wrong phone number. When asked by the third-party why he did not write the phone number down when viewing his discovery materials, Phillips responded that he did not want to make his attorney suspicious. Phillips also directly made several phone calls from the Linn County Jail to another witness, telling the witness that people knew where he lived and that people were going to kill him. The jury heard audio recordings of these phone calls and viewed jailhouse video showing Phillips using the phone at the time of the calls.

Phillips was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Chief Judge Linda R. Reade. Phillips was sentenced to a total term of 360 months’imprisonment. A special assessment of $600 was imposed. Phillips must serve an 8-year term of supervised release after the prison term. There is no parole in the federal system.

Phillips is being held in the United States Marshal’s custody until he can be transported to a federal prison.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Justin Lightfoot and Daniel Tvedt, and was investigated by the Waterloo Police Department Violent Crime Apprehension Team (VCAT), the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, and the Tri-County Drug Task Force, which is composed of the Waterloo Police Department, Cedar Falls Police Department, Waverly Police Department, Bremer County Sheriff’s Office, Black Hawk County Sheriff’s Office, LaPorte City Police Department, Evansdale Police Department, Hudson Police Department, and Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Court file information is available at The case file number is 11-CR-2040.



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