Skip to main content
Press Release

Drug Dealer Who Sold “Ghost Guns,” Silencers, and a Machinegun Sentenced to Thirty Years in Federal Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa
Possessed Twenty Firearms, Including Machineguns and a Pipe Bomb, in Downtown Cedar Rapids

A man who sold cocaine and firearms, including a machinegun with an integrated silencer, to another drug dealer was sentenced today to serve thirty years in federal prison.

Raven Damien Meader Burkhow, age 26, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, received the prison term after a January 17, 2020 guilty plea 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 sentencing and prior hearings showed that Burkhow sold cocaine on five occasions to a confidential informant, who Burkhow knew to be a drug dealer.  After one such transaction, Burkhow offered to sell the informant a pipe bomb.  Burkhow also sold a gun without a serial number, otherwise known as a “ghost gun,” with a silencer and a machinegun with an integrated silencer to the informant.  Burkhow sold the cocaine and guns from the doorway of his apartment building located in downtown Cedar Rapids.  Law enforcement officers searched Burkhow’s apartment and seized twenty firearms, including machineguns, a sawed-off shotgun, and a pipe bomb.  They also found cocaine, thirteen silencers, and thousands of rounds of ammunition in his apartment.  Burkhow was also ordered to forfeit $177,720 in cash, six gold bars valued at approximately $5,522.50, firearms, and ammunition, which were seized in connection with the case.

Burkhow was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams.  Burkhow was sentenced to 360 months’ imprisonment.  He must also serve a five-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.

Burkhow 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 Attorneys Kyndra Lundquist and Richard Murphy and investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement. 

Court file information at

The case file number is 19-CR-59.

Follow us on Twitter @USAO_NDIA.

Updated November 6, 2020

Project Guardian
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses