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Press Release

Convicted Felon who Possessed a Firearm Sentenced to More than Three Years in Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa

A man who possessed a loaded gun was sentenced February 26, 2021, to more than three years in federal prison.

Joshua Jacobs, age 39, from LeMars, Iowa, received the prison term after a September 18, 2020, guilty plea to being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.  Jacobs was previously convicted of felony drug crimes which made it illegal for him to possess a gun.

Evidence at Jacob’s, detention, change of plea, and sentencing hearings revealed that on October 15, 2019, officers of the Sioux City Police Department conducting surveillance on a residence observed a vehicle not registered to Jacobs leaving the residence. Due to a malfunctioning license plate light, officers initiated a traffic stop of the vehicle. The vehicle did not immediately stop and “slow rolled” for a distance before coming to a stop. Immediately upon stopping the vehicle, Jacobs exited the driver’s seat. Due to this unusual behavior, Jacobs was placed in handcuffs. A female passenger in the vehicle, was observed to be bleeding from her hand and to have a white powder on her shirt. Officers also observed what appeared to be a broken methamphetamine pipe on the passenger’s side floor.

Due to those items, officers conducted a probable cause search of the vehicle. On the passenger’s side, officers located a digital scale, broken glass, and a baggie that was found to contain approximately four grams of methamphetamine. In the center console, officers found a black bag, which contained a number of small baggies of a white powder and crystalline substance that appeared to be methamphetamine. Jacobs stated that the substance in the black bag was not methamphetamine but was MSM.  In a spare tire well in the trunk of the vehicle, officers located a loaded .40 caliber Springfield XD handgun, which was later found to have been stolen.  The 12-round magazine contained 11 rounds of .40 caliber ammunition. The defendant initially denied having any knowledge of the firearm; however, in a subsequent interview, Jacobs admitted that he had possessed the firearm, which he knew to be stolen.

Jacobs was sentenced in Sioux City by United States District Court Chief Judge Leonard T. Strand.  Jacobs was sentenced to 41 months’ imprisonment.  He must also serve a two-year term of supervised release after the prison term.  There is no parole in the federal system.

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

The case was investigated by the Sioux City, Iowa Police Department and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Forde Fairchild. 

Court file information at

The case file number is 20-4008.

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Updated March 4, 2021

Project Guardian
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses