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Press Release

Convicted Felon Who Possessed Multiple Firearms Sentenced to Seven Years in Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa
Possessed a Rifle and Two Loaded Handguns

A man who possessed handguns and an assault rifle was sentenced today to seven years in federal prison.

Choroin Devontea Smith, age 24, from Waterloo, Iowa, received the prison term after an August 27, 2020 guilty plea to being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition. 

In a plea agreement, Smith admitted that, on January 26, 2020, police officers were conducting routine patrol in Waterloo, Iowa.  At approximately 1:30 a.m., officers observed Smith and another man seated in a parked car in downtown Waterloo.  After surveilling the car, an officer approached it to talk to Smith.  During the conversation, the officer observed a gun holster in the front of the car in the space between the passenger and driver’s seat.  An additional officer arrived and as he approached the vehicle from the driver’s side, he observed a semi-automatic Romarm/Cugir 7.62x39 rifle in the backseat of the vehicle.  Officers eventually also seized a loaded Smith and Wesson 9mm pistol and a loaded Taurus .45 caliber pistol from the passenger’s seat

Smith was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams.  Smith was sentenced to 84 months’ imprisonment.  He must also serve a three-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).  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: Waterloo Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms. For more information about Project Guardian, please see /media/1122011/download?inline.

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

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Lisa C. Williams and was 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 20-CR-2020.

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Updated February 16, 2021

Project Guardian
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses