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Press Release

DNA Found on Firearm Results in Federal Prison Sentence

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

A man who was a felon and drug user and hid a firearm outside his former girlfriend’s home in Waterloo was sentenced today to four years in federal prison.

Michael Deshone Holmes, age 31, from Waterloo, Iowa, received the prison term after a November 2, 2020 guilty plea to being a felon and drug user in possession of a firearm.

At the guilty plea, Holmes admitted he was convicted in 2009 of the felony offenses of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine and using a firearm during and in relation to a felony drug offense in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Iowa.  Holmes also admitted that on June 1, 2019, he was an unlawful user of marijuana and cocaine.  On that same day, Holmes went to his former girlfriend’s home in Waterloo and hid a firearm outside before he went inside to meet with her.  After he got into a dispute with her, Holmes fled the scene on foot.  Waterloo police officers found the gun, which had previously been reported stolen, and recovered Holmes DNA on the handgun. 

Holmes was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams.  Holmes was sentenced to 48 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. For more information about Project Guardian, please see /media/1122011/download?inline.

Holmes 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 Patrick Reinert 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-02005.

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Updated November 2, 2020

Project Guardian
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses