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Press Release

Cedar Rapids Man to Federal Prison for Selling Pounds of Methamphetamine and Possessing Guns

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa
Possessed Guns as Part of Large-Scale Methamphetamine Conspiracy

A man who distributed pounds of methamphetamine was sentenced on April 12, 2021, to more than 26 years in federal prison.

Tony Rhen Brown, age 60, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, received the prison term after an October 13, 2020 guilty plea to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

In a plea agreement, Brown admitted that he received at least a pound of methamphetamine a month over a three-month period in 2019 that he planned to resell.  Brown also admitted that, on February 1, 2019, Cedar Rapids police officers responded to a burglary in progress and located Brown in a car outside the residence that was the subject of the call.  Brown’s DNA was on two firearms law enforcement officers found in the car.  Brown possessed these guns as part of his meth selling operation. 

Brown was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams.  Brown was sentenced to 320 months and 14 days’ imprisonment.  He must also serve a five-year term of supervised release after the prison term.  There is no parole in the federal system.  Brown is being held in the United States Marshal’s custody until he can be transported to a federal prison.

This case was 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.

This case is also part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. The United States Attorney’s Office has prosecuted this case with support from the following Project Guardian partners.  For more information about Project Guardian, please see /media/1122011/download?inline.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Emily Nydle and Kyndra Lundquist and investigated as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program of the United States Department of Justice through a cooperative effort of by the Cedar Rapids Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Linn County Sheriff’s Office, the Marion Police Department, the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.  

Court file information at

The case file number is 20-CR-30.

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Updated April 13, 2021

Project Guardian
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses