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Press Release

Dubuque Man Pleads Guilty to Escaping Custody and Being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm

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

A felon who escaped from a Waterloo halfway house and was later found with a firearm pled guilty today in federal court in Cedar Rapids.

Nicholas Cameron Anderson, age 32, from Dubuque, Iowa, was convicted of one count of escape from custody and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Court records show that Anderson pled guilty in 2016 in the Northern District of Iowa to being a felon in possession of a firearm.  He was sentenced in 2017 to 63 months in federal prison.  At the plea hearing, Anderson admitted that, while he was still a federal inmate serving that sentence, he was housed at a residential re-entry center in Waterloo, Iowa.  In September 2020, Anderson left custody without authorization.  Anderson also admitted that in January 2021, he was found in possession of a pistol in Dubuque, Iowa.  In addition to the federal firearm conviction, Anderson had previously been convicted of three other felonies in state court in Dubuque: theft from a person in 2007; burglary in the third degree in 2007; and escape in 2009.

Sentencing before United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams will be set after a presentence report is prepared.  Anderson remains in custody of the United States Marshal pending sentencing.  Anderson faces a possible maximum sentence on the escape charge of 5 years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release following any imprisonment.  He also faces a possible maximum sentence on the firearm charge of 10 years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release following any imprisonment.

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 was investigated by the Dubuque Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the United States Marshals Service, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dan Chatham. 

Court file information at

The case file number is 21-CR-1010-CJW.  Anderson’s prior federal case file number was 16-CR-01030-1-LRR.

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Updated March 29, 2021

Project Guardian
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses