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Press Release

Man Who Stole Firearm and Transported it to Wisconsin Sentenced to Federal Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa

A man who met an acquaintance at her home in Dubuque, Iowa, and stole a .380 caliber Smith and Wesson revolver from her was sentenced today to more than three years in federal prison.

Michael Coates, age 28, from Cassville, Wisconsin, received the prison term after a January 20, 2021 guilty plea to possession of a firearm by a felon. 

At the guilty plea, Coates admitted he possessed the stolen revolver on November 30, 2019, and took it to Wisconsin.  Coates was previously convicted of possession of a controlled substance with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine in Dubuque County, Iowa, in 2014.

Coates was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court  Judge C.J. Williams.  Coates was sentenced to 46 months’ imprisonment and fined $100.  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.

Coates 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 Elizabeth Dupuich and investigated by the Dubuque Police Department and the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.. 

Court file information at

The case file number is 20-CR-1025.

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Updated June 29, 2021

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses