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Press Release

Possession of Sawed-Off Shotgun Sends Dubuque Man to Federal Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa
Kept the Shotgun and Hidden Meth at his Home

A man who possessed an unregistered sawed-off shotgun and who was an unlawful user of methamphetamine was sentenced on October 26, 2018, to one year in federal prison.

Michael Dennison, age 41, from Dubuque, Iowa, received the prison term after a June 18, 2018, guilty plea to possession of an unregistered short-barreled shotgun.

In a plea agreement, Dennison admitted that he possessed the sawed-off shotgun from the summer of 2017 until February 16, 2018, when police officers seized it during a search warrant executed at his home.  The gun was loaded.  Sentencing documents indicate that officers also found methamphetamine hidden in a hole cut out from the Dennison’s mattress.  Dennison also provided a urine sample that tested positive for methamphetamine. 

Dennison was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by Chief United States District Court Judge Leonard T. Strand.  Dennison was sentenced to twelve months and one day in prison.  He must also serve a two-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), a program that has been historically successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.  Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made turning the tide of rising violent crime in America a top priority.  In October 2017, as part of a series of actions to address this crime trend, Attorney General Sessions announced the reinvigoration of PSN and directed all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to develop a district crime reduction strategy that incorporates the lessons learned since PSN launched in 2001.

Dennison 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 Justin Lightfoot and investigated by the Dubuque Police Department and the Dubuque County Sheriff’s Office. 

Court file information at

The case file number is 18-CR-1015.

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Updated October 30, 2018

Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods