Skip to main content
Press Release

Marijuana Manufacturer and Convicted Felon in Possession of Loaded Guns -- Sentenced to Six Months in Federal Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa
Prior conviction for similar offense did not deter Jon Draper from rearming.

A man who had of multiple felony offenses, including an Iowa State conviction for dominion and control of a firearm as a felon in 1991, was sentenced February 20, 2019, to federal prison for, once again, unlawfully possessing a firearm.

Jon Merrit Draper, age 57, from Cherokee, Iowa, received the prison term after a September 18, 2018, guilty plea to possessing a firearm as a felon.

Evidence at Draper’s sentencing and change of plea hearings revealed on January 14, 2018 he was a marijuana manufacturer, distributor, and user who was also a felon in possession of three guns.  It also revealed Draper’s marijuana operation fed the weekly habit of at least one person for approximately two years, the daily habit of others for an unknown time period. 

Draper kept the guns in a bedroom adjacent to a parlor used for drug-use, and above a basement used to manufacture drugs.  Two of the guns were loaded, none of them were cased.  Ammunition was also found in the basement.  

Draper’s criminal history included a conviction for dominion and control of a firearm as a felon in 1991 (for which he received a 15-year suspended sentence), two minor controlled substance related violations in 2003, and 2015, six OWI convictions, and an assault conviction. 

Draper was sentenced in Sioux City by United States District Court Chief Judge Leonard T. Strand.  Draper was sentenced to 6 months’ imprisonment.  He must also serve a two-year term of supervised release after the prison term and pay a $100 special assessment.  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.

Draper was released on the bond previously set and is to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on a date yet to be set.

The case was investigated by Cherokee Police Department, Cherokee Sheriff’s Office and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Forde Fairchild. 

Court file information at

The case file number is 18-CR-4058.

Follow us on Twitter @USAO_NDIA.

Updated February 26, 2019

Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods