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Press Release

Eleven Charged With Federal Gun Law Violations

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

Law enforcement agencies in the Cedar Rapids area continue to make communities safer by partnering to reduce gun related crimes and violence.  United States Attorney Peter E. Deegan, Jr. announced charges and arrests in eleven federal gun cases within the last 30 days. 

“COVID 19 has not affected federal, state and local law enforcement’s unwavering commitment to investigating and prosecuting offenses involving firearms,” said United States Attorney Peter E. Deegan, Jr.  “Convicted felons, drug users, and those who have committed domestic violence are legally barred from possessing guns or ammunition.  Those that do will be held accountable.”

“The Cedar Rapids Police Department appreciates the continued partnership with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Iowa as we are both concerned about violent crime,” said Cedar Rapids Chief of Police Wayne Jerman.  “Our community is safer today because of the commitment of the U.S. Attorney to prosecute crimes involving the use or possession of illegal drugs and firearms.  In some cases, convicted felons, who are not allowed to lawfully possess a gun, are accused of further crimes committed while in possession of a firearm.  This is particularly concerning and the reason that we value the work of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in helping us hold individuals accountable.”

Special Agent in Charge Kristi Johnson of the FBI noted, “These charges and arrests prove our partnerships with local law enforcement and the communities we serve are crucial to the mission against gun violence.”

ATF Special Agent in Charge of the Kansas City Field Division Marino Vidoli said, “As these cases show, ATF and our law enforcement partners in the Cedar Rapids area are absolutely committed to finding those who use firearms to threaten or inflict harm on members of our community, and bringing them to justice.”

The work of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies has resulted in the following charges in federal court in Cedar Rapids in the last month:

Trever Carl Christopherson, age 31, Rhamond Bolden, age 26, Thomas Anthony Wallace, age 33, Jerell Jackson, age 23, Tony Rhen Brown, age 59, Daniel James Abbott, age 48, and Henry Wilke Eilders, age 42, all of the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, area, have been charged with various violations of federal law including being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm.  The charges are contained in complaints and indictments filed within the last 30 days in United States District Court in Cedar Rapids.  Four additional defendants, whose charges remain under seal, have also been charged with violating federal firearm laws. 

The indictment against Abbott alleges that in September and October of 2019, he possessed multiple firearms while being an unlawful user of methamphetamine.  The indictment also alleges that two firearms seized in September of 2019 were possessed by Abbott in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, specifically possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.  An additional four guns were seized as part of this investigation in March 2020.  The case file is 20-CR-32.   

The indictment against Eilders alleges that in March 2020, Eilders possessed a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime, specifically conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing methamphetamine and or 50 grams or more of pure methamphetamine, and possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing methamphetamine.  This case is part of a larger drug-trafficking investigation, wherein investigators seized a gun from Eilder’s co-defendant, George Ashby, age 60, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  Ashby is facing drug and gun charges as well.  The case file is 20-CR-00027.    

The indictments filed against Christopherson and Jackson allege that each possessed a firearm while being an unlawful user of a controlled substance.  Christopherson is alleged to have been a methamphetamine user while possessing a firearm. Jackson is alleged to have been a marijuana user while possessing a firearm.

The indictment filed against Bolden alleges that he possessed a firearm as a felon.  Bolden is a felon based on a prior federal conviction for being a drug user in possession of a firearm.   

The indictment filed against Wallace alleges that he possessed a firearm while being an unlawful user of marijuana and after having two prior convictions for domestic abuse.

The indictment filed against Brown alleges that he possessed two firearms while being an unlawful user of heroin and after having previously been convicted of two felonies.  Brown has also been charged with conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture of substance containing methamphetamine.

If convicted on these charges, all defendants face at least a possible maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, $100 in special assessments, and three years of supervised release following any imprisonment.­

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

The cases were 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.

These cases were investigated by the Cedar Rapids Police Department, the Marion Police Department, the Hiawatha Police Department, the Linn County Sheriff’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.  

Follow us on Twitter @USAO_NDIA.

Updated June 18, 2020

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses