Acting U.S. Attorney of Northern District: 17 defendants recently charged with gun crimes

Office continues to make firearm crimes priority

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Federal prosecutors announced Monday during a news conference that 17 men have been recently charged with gun crimes as a result of mutual cooperation between the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Cedar Rapids and other Eastern Iowa law enforcement agencies.

Acting U.S. Attorney Sean Berry said Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently emphasized the Department of Justice is committed to investigating, prosecuting and deterring violent crime, and Berry pointed out the Northern District has always made gun crimes a priority.

“Historically, gun violence and crime rise sharply as temperatures rise,” Berry said. “With summer approaching, my office will continue to work with the Cedar Rapids Safe Streets Task Force, Waterloo Federal Task Force, and all out federal, state and local partners to combat violent crime by prosecuting the most dangerous of criminal offenders, including those who unlawfully possess and use firearms.”

Berry said most of the gun cases come from the local police departments, such as Cedar Rapids, Marion and Waterloo, and many are prosecuted in federal court because the penalties are tougher. Under federal law, possession of firearm by a felon, by a drug user, or by domestic abuser face up to 10 years in prison. There are also higher penalties than in state court for possession of stolen firearms, and if someone makes false statements on gun permit or carry applications.

Berry was joined at the news conference by Donald Dockendorf of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Thomas Reinwart of Federal Bureau of Investigation; Waterloo Police Capt. Dave Mohlis; Cedar Rapids Police Dep. Chief Thomas Jonker; and Marion Police Corp. James Hancox.

The 17 defendants charged or indicted: Erwin Bell, 26, of Clinton; Gerraud Bruns, 26, of Dubuque; David Caldwell, 27, of Chicago, Ill.; Daniel Henriksen, 29, of Elgin; Albert Gunnard Linne, 42, of Lowden; Troy Postel-Vargason, 34, of Independence; Nicodimus Coles, 21; Derek Hines, 32; James Mitchell, 36, Terrence Shaffer, 23, and Darryl Williams, 29, all of Cedar Rapids: and Willie Johnson, 45, Wayne Jones, 37, Dayton Myers, 20, Antwan D. Phillips, 25, Jyshawn Robertson, 19, and Eric Sallis, 26, all of Waterloo.

All defendants were charged or indicted for various gun charges including possessing a firearm as a felon or drug user. If convicted on these charges, each defendant faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.

Two of the 17 defendants, Postel-Vargason and Johnson, remain fugitives. Anyone with information regarding their whereabouts is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (319)232-5583 or 855-300-8477.

l Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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