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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Iowa

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Convicted Felon Sentenced to More Than Two Years in Prison for Unlawfully Possessing a Gun

Previously Convicted of Firearm Offenses in Both Federal and State Court

A convicted felon who has repeatedly unlawfully possessed firearms was sentenced on September 19, 2018, to more than two years in federal prison.

Dezarris Shemeek Wilkerson, age 26, from Waterloo, Iowa, received the prison term after an April 5, 2018, guilty plea to possession of a firearm by a felon.

In a plea agreement, Wilkerson admitted he possessed a pistol on June 4, 2017.  At the time he possessed the pistol, Wilkerson was a convicted felon.  When officers made contact with Wilkerson on June 4, he was drunk and possessed marijuana.   

Previously, in 2011, Wilkerson was convicted in federal court with being an unlawful drug user in possession of a firearm.  In that case, he admitted to stealing a shotgun from a vacant house.  In 2012, Wilkerson was convicted of carrying weapons in state court.  In that case, he was found with a loaded revolver that had the serial number scratched off.  In his plea agreement in the current case, Wilkerson also admitted that police found him in a vehicle on January 5, 2016, and that officers found a handgun under the seat in that same vehicle.

Wilkerson was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by Chief United States District Court Judge Leonard T. Strand.  Wilkerson was sentenced to 33 months’ imprisonment.  He must also serve a 3-year term of supervised release after the prison term.  There is no parole in the federal system.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that has been historically successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.  Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made turning the tide of rising violent crime in America a top priority.  In October 2017, as part of a series of actions to address this crime trend, Attorney General Sessions announced the reinvigoration of PSN and directed all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to develop a district crime reduction strategy that incorporates the lessons learned since PSN launched in 2001.

Wilkerson 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 Attorney Emily K. Nydle and investigated by a Federal Task Force composed of the Waterloo Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms assisted by the Black Hawk County Sheriff’s Office and Cedar Falls Police Department.  

Court file information at

The case file number is 17-cr-02082.

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Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Updated September 20, 2018