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Press Release

Marijuana User Sentenced to Federal Prison for Possessing a Firearm

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

A Cedar Rapids drug user who unlawfully possessed a loaded gun was sentenced today to one year in prison.

Malik Cain Richardson, Sr., age 24, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, received the prison sentence after a January 24, 2020 guilty plea to possession of a firearm by a drug user.

Information disclosed at sentencing and in his plea agreement showed that on February 27, 2020, Richardson was pulled over by Cedar Rapids police officers.  During the stop, Richardson admitted he had a firearm and gave it to police.  Officers also discovered that Richardson’s front seat passenger had approximately 15 grams of marijuana hidden in her pants.  The passenger told officers that Richardson handed it to her as they were getting pulled over.  Richardson admitted that he had been a marijuana user since he was 13 or 14 years old.  Officers located multiple photos and text messages on Richardson’s phone which show that Richardson also sold marijuana.  In July 2019, officers searched Richardson’s home and located marijuana, items consistent with marijuana distribution, and a loaded firearm. 

Richardson was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams.  Richardson was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment.  He was ordered to make payment of $100 to the special assessment fund.  He must also serve a three-year term of supervised release after the prison term.  There is no parole in the federal system.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ashley Corkery and investigated by the Cedar Rapids Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

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. The United States Attorney’s Office has prosecuted this case with support from its Project Guardian partners.  For more information about Project Guardian, please see /media/1122011/download?inline.

Court file information at

The case file number is 19-CR-89.                                

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Updated July 13, 2020

Project Guardian
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses