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Press Release

Felon and Marijuana Grower Sentenced to a Year in Federal Prison for Unlawfully Possessing Guns

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa
Police Went to House Looking for Endangered Rattlesnakes, but Found Guns and Drugs

A convicted felon, illegal user of controlled substances, and marijuana grower who unlawfully possessed two guns was sentenced today to a year in federal prison.

Brian Anderson, age 52, from New Hartford, Iowa, received the prison term after a December 9, 2019 guilty plea to being a felon and an unlawful user of controlled substances in possession of a firearm.

Information at sentencing showed that law enforcement searched Anderson’s home in New Hartford in June 2018.  Officers were initially searching the home looking for endangered rattlesnakes that Anderson allegedly possessed.  During the search, officers found the body of one dead rattlesnake.  But officers also found a marijuana grow operation, including over 120 marijuana plants, and two guns nearby.  Anderson was prohibited from possessing guns because he had previously been convicted of the felony offense of manufacturing marijuana and possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute.  He also had a previous conviction for illegally possessing two handguns.   

Anderson was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams.  Anderson was sentenced to 12 months’ and one day in prison.  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.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Anthony Morfitt and investigated the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the Waterloo Police Department, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.   

Court file information at

The case file number is 19-cr-3054.

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Updated July 15, 2020

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Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses