Former Iowa Army National Guard Member Sentenced to Federal Prison After Buying Guns with Fraudulent Checks
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa
Lied to Sheriff to Fraudulently Obtain Permit to Carry
A Marion man who lied about his drug use to the Linn County Sheriff in order to obtain a permit to carry, and then purchased multiple guns with fraudulent checks, was sentenced October 28, 2019, to nearly three years in federal prison.
Edinton Grugbay Wright, age 23, from Marion, Iowa, originally from Monrovia, Liberia, received the prison term after a May 9, 2019, guilty plea to one count of a possessing a firearm as a drug user.
Evidence presented at multiple court hearings showed that, in September 2017, Wright applied for a permit to carry weapons from the Linn County Sheriff. Wright lied to the Sheriff by falsely stating that he had not unlawfully used any controlled substances in the previous twelve months. In truth, Wright had used marijuana while a member of the Iowa Army National Guard. The Iowa Army National Guard later discharged Wright in part because of his drug use.
Between October 2017 and July 2018, Wright used the fraudulently obtained gun permit to purchase seven firearms from Linn County businesses. Wright also used phony checks to fund the purchases.
On October 21, 2018, Wright was involved in a domestic dispute with his girlfriend in Cedar Rapids. While arresting Wright on an unrelated warrant in state court, law enforcement officers found a gun and a small amount of marijuana on his person. In the course of the investigation, officers recovered all but one of the seven guns, which Wright often pawned shortly after purchasing them.
In March 2019, after a grand jury indicted Wright, officers arrested him on a warrant. Wright was driving a rental car and attempting to pass another fraudulent check at a local financial institution at the time of his arrest. Unbeknownst to officers, Wright had a gun under the seat of his rental car. In jail calls after his arrest, Wright asked his girlfriend to work with his mother to retrieve the gun before the rental car company found it. Wright also spoke with a federal felon about selling the gun to the felon for $300.
Wright was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams. Wright was sentenced to 33 months’ imprisonment. He was ordered to make $900 in restitution. He must also serve a three-year term of supervised release after the prison term. There is no parole in the federal system.
Wright is being held in the United States Marshal’s custody until he can be transported to a federal prison. Wright was detained shortly after his release in federal court after violating the terms of his pretrial release. Among other things, Wright violated a no contact order and repeatedly had contact with his girlfriend against the court’s order not to do so. In April 2019, officers responded to an incident in which defendant was driving a car erratically near Westdale in Cedar Rapids, and his girlfriend was shouting for help out the car’s window and claiming the Wright was assaulting her.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tim Vavricek and investigated by the Linn County Sheriff’s Office and Homeland Security Investigations.
Court file information at https://ecf.iand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl.
The case file number is 19-CR-34.
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Updated October 30, 2019
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