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Press Release

Man in Possession of Sawed-Off Shotgun Sent to Federal Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa
Tried to Ditch the Sawed-Off from the Passenger Side of a Car While

A man who illegally possessed a sawed-off shotgun was sentenced today to more than three years in federal prison.

Francisco Rubio, age 25, from Waterloo, Iowa, received the prison term after a guilty plea to possession of an unregistered National Firearms Act device.

In a plea agreement, Rubio admitted that on October 11, 2019, he knowingly possessed a Mossberg 500, 20 gauge sawed-off shotgun with an overall barrel length of less than 18 inches.  That day, Waterloo police officers were dispatched to an alleyway behind a residence after receiving a report that individuals were attempting to break into a car.  When an officer arrived, he observed Rubio seated in the passenger side of a red car.  The driver of the red vehicle was running away from a different vehicle.  The driver got into the red car and backed down the alley.  Ignoring police commands to stop, the driver continued backing her car down the alley until she reached the roadway.  The driver then turned her car onto the road and attempted to flee from the police.  During the pursuit, the driver turned her car onto another alleyway.  While they were traveling down this alleyway, Rubio threw the sawed-off shotgun out of his passenger window

Rubio was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams.  Rubio was sentenced to 46 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.

Rubio 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 Lisa C. Williams and investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Waterloo Police Department. 

Court file information at

The case file number is 20-CR-2001.

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Updated September 25, 2020

Project Guardian
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses