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Press Release

Cedar Rapids Man Pleads Guilty to Drug Trafficking and Possessing Machineguns and a Pipe Bomb

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa
Also Pled Guilty to Possessing Multiple Guns to Further His Drug Trafficking

A man who sold cocaine and possessed twenty firearms, including machineguns and a pipe bomb, in downtown Cedar Rapids, pled guilty January 17, 2020, in federal court in Cedar Rapids.

Raven Damien Meader Burkhow, age 25, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, two counts of use and possession of a firearm during and in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, possession of a sawed-off shotgun in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, possession of machineguns, and possession of an unregistered pipe bomb.

Evidence at a previous hearing in this case showed that Burkhow sold cocaine on five occasions.  Burkhow also sold a gun without a serial number, known as a “ghost gun,” with a silencer and a machinegun.  Burkhow sold the cocaine and guns from the doorway of his apartment building in downtown Cedar Rapids.  Law enforcement later searched his apartment.  Officers seized twenty firearms, including machineguns, a sawed-off shotgun, and a pipe bomb; cocaine; silencers; and thousands of rounds of ammunition in late April and early May 2019.  As part of his plea, Burkhow also agreed to forfeit items named in the indictment, including $177,720 in cash, six gold bars valued at approximately $5,522.50, firearms, and ammunition, which were seized in connection with the case.     

Sentencing before United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams will be set after a presentence report is prepared.  Burkhow remains in custody of the United States Marshal pending sentencing.  Burkhow faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years’ imprisonment and a possible maximum sentence of life imprisonment, a $6,010,000 fine, and up to a lifetime term of supervised release following any imprisonment.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Kyndra Lundquist and Richard Murphy and was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement.

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.  For more information about Project Guardian, please see /media/1122011/download?inline

Court file information at

The case file number is 19-CR-59.

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Updated January 21, 2020

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Project Guardian
Project Safe Neighborhoods