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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Iowa

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Eight-Time Felon Indicted on Federal Firearms Charg

Erwin Keith Bell, age 36, from Clinton, Iowa, has been charged with one count of Felon in Possession of a Firearm.­ The charge is contained in an Indictment filed yesterday in United States District Court in Cedar Rapids.


The Indictment alleges that, on or about February 4, 2017, Bell knowingly possessed a .22 magnum caliber revolver after eight prior felony convictions in Iowa and Illinois for, among other things, possession of controlled substances with the intent to deliver, firearms trafficking, extortion, and burglary. In an affidavit filed last month in the case, it was alleged that an officer with the Mount Vernon Police Department conducted a traffic stop on a car in which Bell was seated in the front passenger seat after sunset on February 4, 2017. During the course of the traffic stop, Bell assaulted the officer by striking him after the officer saw a marijuana pipe between Bell’s legs. Bell then fled on foot, and the officer pursued him. After the officer caught him, Bell continued to assault the officer, punching and kicking him in the face. Bell removed the officer’s baton and struck the officer with the baton in an attempt to gain access to the officer’s taser. Bell was eventually placed under arrest. During a search of the car, police located drug paraphernalia, baggies, a scale, marijuana, and cocaine.


If convicted, Bell faces up to life in prison, a $250,000 fine, a $100 special assessment, and five years of supervised release following any imprisonment.­


Bell appeared on April 14, 2017 in federal court in Davenport and was held without bond. Bell’s next appearance in Cedar Rapids is set for May 9, 2017, at 3:00 p.m.


As with any criminal case, a charge is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.


The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tim Vavricek and was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Mount Vernon Police Department, the Lisbon Police Department, the Linn County Sheriff’s Office, the Mechanicsville Police Department, the Iowa State Patrol, the Clinton Police Department, the Davenport Police Department, the Eldridge Police Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.


Court file information at

The case file numbers are 17-mj-65 and 17-cr-27.


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Firearms Offenses
Updated May 10, 2017