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Press Release

Dubuque Felon Sentenced to Eight Years in Federal Prison for Possessing Firearms

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa
Third Family Member Sentenced for Unlawfully Possessing Guns Found During Search of Home Shared by all Three

A Dubuque man who possessed stolen firearms and sold drugs near a city park was sentenced today to eight years in federal prison.

Jordan Dakota Ness, also known as “Bubba,” age 29, from Dubuque, Iowa, received the prison term after a November 18, 2021 guilty plea to one count of possession of a firearm by a felon.

Evidence at detention, plea, and sentencing hearings showed that, in August 2016, law enforcement officers executed a series of search warrants at a home Ness shared with his father, twin brother, and others in Dubuque.  In Ness’s basement bedroom, officers found large quantities of marijuana.  Just outside of the bedroom, officers discovered a loaded pistol on a shelf.  Officers also located a locked cabinet nearby that contained multiple guns and magazines, including a gun stolen in a burglary in Wisconsin, a semi-automatic rifle with an obliterated serial number, and two 25-round, high-capacity magazines.

Ness has a lengthy criminal history, including ten convictions over a ten-year period.  Ness’s other convictions include burglary, harassment, and driving while drugged.  Ness’s home was located near a public park in Dubuque.

Ness was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams.  Ness was sentenced to 96 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.

Ness is being held in the United States Marshal’s custody until he can be transported to a federal prison.  In March 2019, Ness’s father, Neil George Ness, was sentenced to 37 months’ imprisonment after law enforcement officers found an unregistered short-barrel shotgun in another locked cabinet near Neil George Ness’s bedroom during the same search.  In January 2021, Ness’s twin brother, Jacob Dylan Ness, who is also a felon, was sentenced to five years’ probation for possessing an unloaded rifle that officers found in his bedroom during the same search.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tim Vavricek and investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Dubuque Police Department. 

Court file information at

The case file number is 20-CR-1022-CJW.

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Updated May 10, 2021

Project Guardian
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses