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Press Release

Illinois Felon Sentenced to Prison for Possessing Gun

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa
Has Prior Felony Convictions Involving Drugs, Violence, and Guns

A man who illegally possessed a gun was sentenced today to more than two years in federal prison.

Rajih Rafee Donley, age 33, from Chicago, Illinois, received the prison term after an October 2, 2020 guilty plea to possession of a firearm by a felon.

At the plea hearing, Donley admitted he possessed a firearm in 2018 despite having a prior felony conviction.  Donley had previously been convicted of felony offenses involving marijuana and cocaine in Illinois.  In 2019, Donley was convicted in Iowa of willful injury causing serious injury, intimidation with a dangerous weapon, going armed with intent, and two counts of possessing a firearm as a felon.

Donley was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Chief Judge Leonard T. Strand.  Donley was sentenced to 27 months’ imprisonment.  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.

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

Donley is being held in the United States Marshal’s custody until he can be transported to a federal prison.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Emily K. Nydle and was investigated by a Federal Task Force composed of the Waterloo Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms assisted by the Black Hawk County Sheriff’s Office and the Cedar Falls Police Department. 

Court file information at

The case file number is 19-cr-2035.

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Updated March 17, 2021

Project Guardian
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses