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Press Release

Waterloo Marijuana User Sentenced to a Year in Federal Prison for Unlawfully Possessing a Loaded Handgun

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa
Initially Refused to Comply with Officers During a Traffic Stop in Early Morning Hours

An unlawful user of controlled substances who possessed a loaded handgun was sentenced today a year in federal prison.

Rodonus Echols, age 19, from Waterloo, Iowa, received the prison term after a March 27, 2019 guilty plea to one count of being a drug user in possession of a firearm.

Information at sentencing showed that Echols was in a car in Waterloo in the early morning hours of October 21, 2018.  The Waterloo Police stopped the car for speeding.  During the traffic stop, Echols initially refused to get out of the car when officers asked him to do so.  After Echols got out, officers found a loaded revolver in the waistband of his pants.  At the time Echols possessed the gun, he was an unlawful user of marijuana.

Echols was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by Chief United States District Court Judge Leonard T. Strand.  Echols was sentenced to 12 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.

Echols is being held in the United States Marshal’s custody until he can be transported to a federal prison.

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.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Anthony Morfitt and investigated by a Federal Task Force composed of the Waterloo Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms assisted by the Black Hawk County Sheriff’s Office and Cedar Falls Police Department.

Court file information at

The case file number is 19-cr-2008.

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Updated August 21, 2019

Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods