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Press Release

Drug User Sentenced to Over Two Years in Federal Prison for Unlawfully Possessing Firearm

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa
Harmon-Wright fired several shots into the air

A Waterloo, Iowa, man that fired several shots into the air in a residential area was sentenced today to more than two years in federal prison.

Marcus DeShawn Harmon-Wright, age 35, from Waterloo, Iowa, received the prison term after a December 16, 2020 guilty plea to one-count of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person.

Evidence at sentencing showed that, on April 12, 2020, Harmon-Wright fired several shots into the air, striking his own residence, after observing individuals breaking into his partner’s car.  Several minutes later, Harmon-Wright got into an argument with his neighbor, while he continued to possess the firearm.  After officers arrived, Harmon-Wright was uncooperative, knocking off an officer’s body worn camera and spitting in that officer’s face intentionally.  Harmon-Wright was prohibited from possessing firearms because he was a drug user. 

Harmon-Wright was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams.  Harmon-Wright 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. 

Harmon-Wright 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.  For more information about Project Guardian, please see /media/1122011/download?inline.

The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Dillan Edwards 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-02044.

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Updated May 23, 2021

Project Guardian
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses