Jury Finds Cedar Rapids Man Guilty of Firearms and Narcotics Crimes
A man who tossed a loaded semi-automatic pistol and a bag of marijuana into a wooded area near the I-380 and Glass Road interchange in Cedar Rapids after a car accident in July 2017 was convicted by a jury today after a three-day trial in federal court in Cedar Rapids.
David Tachay Heard, age 39, from Cedar Rapids, was convicted on all counts, which included possession of a firearm by a felon, possession of a stolen firearm, possession of marijuana with intent to deliver, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. The verdict was returned this afternoon following about two hours of jury deliberations.
The evidence at trial showed that, on July 30, 2017, Heard ran a red light and crashed into another car at the Glass Road and I-380 Interchange. Heard drove the car to a more secluded spot on Redbud Road and tossed the bag of marijuana and the firearm into the nearby brush. By chance, passerby in a vehicle saw him do so. That passerby called 911. After Heard was arrested, the passerby received calls from a girlfriend of an associate of Heard, telling the passerby that Heard had his name and address.
An investigation revealed that Heard’s cousin purchased the firearm in 2013 from a now-defunct federal firearms licensee in the Cedar Rapids area. Heard’s cousin testified at trial that he did not give Heard permission to use the firearm, because he knew Heard was a felon.
This case is being prosecuted as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a cooperative local, state and federal program aimed at the enhanced prosecution of gun crimes. The case was referred to the United States Attorney’s Office by the Cedar Rapids Police Department.
Sentencing before United States District Court Judge Linda R. Reade will be set after a presentence report is prepared. Heard remains in custody of the United States Marshal pending sentencing. Heard faces up to ten years’ imprisonment on three counts and a mandatory consecutive minimum sentence of 25 years’ imprisonment for possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. In sum, Heard is subject to a possible maximum sentence of life imprisonment, a $1,250,000 fine, $400 in special assessments, and nine years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment. Heard’s potential punishment was increased because he is a recidivist offender; he was convicted in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Iowa in 2000 on two counts of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and possession of marijuana with intent to deliver, respectively.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Timothy L. Vavricek and Lyndie M. Freeman and was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Cedar Rapids Police Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.
Court file information at https://ecf.iand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl.
The case file number is 17-CR-83-LRR.
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