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Press Release

Three Time Federal Felon Sentenced to Over Sixteen Years in Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa
Illegally Possessed a Gun for the Third Time – Also Has Prior Federal Convictions for Drug Trafficking

A man who was convicted in federal court for illegally possessing a gun for the third time was sentenced October 3, 2019, to more than sixteen years in federal prison.

Fernaris Braggs, age 38, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, received the prison term after an April 25, 2019 guilty plea to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

At the guilty plea, Braggs admitted he illegally possessed a handgun on December 23, 2018.  On that day, Braggs was in a car involved in a hit-and-run accident.  Law enforcement officers learned Braggs was involved and searched the area of the accident for him.  The officers found Braggs near a gas station.  Braggs saw the officers and ran from them.  Officers caught and tackled him.  Braggs continued to struggle with the officers.  During the struggle, Braggs dropped a loaded handgun onto the ground.

At the time he possessed the handgun, Braggs was a convicted felon.  In 2001, he was convicted in federal court of distributing crack cocaine two times and illegally possessing a firearm as a drug user.  In 2011, approximately two months after he got out of federal prison, Braggs was caught with a gun and marijuana he planned to sell.  Braggs was then convicted of possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute it and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.  He was still on supervised release from that conviction when he possessed the handgun on December 23, 2018.

Braggs was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams.  Braggs was sentenced to 195 months’ imprisonment in total.  He was sentenced to 135 months in prison on the new charge and 60 months in prison for violating his prior supervised release.  He must also serve a five-year term of supervised release after the prison term.  There is no parole in the federal system.

Braggs 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 Anthony Morfitt and investigated by the Cedar Rapids Safe Streets Task Force.  The task force is composed of representatives from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Cedar Rapids Police Department. 

Court file information at

The case file number is 19-CR-31.

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Updated October 4, 2019

Firearms Offenses
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