Public Safety

Cedar Rapids man charged with selling guns to felon

He also made inquiries about hit man to kill a University of Iowa professor

CEDAR RAPIDS — A Cedar Rapids man, accused of trying to hire a “hit man” to kill a University of Iowa professor and another man, was charged Tuesday in federal court with selling firearms to a felon.

Steven Arce, 35, was charged in U.S. District Court with two counts of knowingly transferring or selling a firearm to a prohibited person. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years on each charge and a fine of up to $250,000.

During the investigation, authorities made contact with a confidential informant who said Arce, known as “Cuban,” on Dec. 21 in Waterloo had several firearms at a house on Ninth Street and offered to sell the informant, a felon, an AR-15 and another rifle, according to a search warrant affidavit.

Surveillance units later were set up, and investigators arranged for the informant, who was wearing a recording device, to buy the assault rifle for $1,000.

During the meeting, the informant and Arce talked about defacing serial numbers, and Arce discussed hiring the informant to kill a UI medical professor with the initials “C.C.” in the urology department.

Investigators later spoke with a detective from the UI Police Department. They reported having a call earlier in December from the Carver College of Medicine where Arce was suspected of being suicidal, according to the affidavit. Officers contacted Arce and allowed him to leave after officers determined he was not a threat to himself.

On Jan. 2, the same confidential informant met again with Arce in Waterloo and bought a Smith & Wesson 9 mm handgun for $550, according to the affidavit.

The informant was given instructions to tell Arce he could meet a hit man the next day to discuss killing C.C.

The hit man was an undercover special agent with the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, the affidavit shows.

The next day the informant mentioned the hit man, but Arce asked if they could delay that for two weeks because Arce had an appeal hearing with the university and wanted to wait until it was over, according to court documents.

Arce then asked the informant if the hit man could intimidate C.C. He wanted someone to give the professor a “beating” to coerce C.C. into letting Arce back into medical school, court documents show.

During this meeting, Arce told the informant he had two fully automatic weapons he would put together by the end of the week, according to court documents. Arce said he had an Uzi he needed to put together and that he could sell him some “fake heroin” and a drug to treat erectile dysfunction.

On Jan. 3, the informant and undercover hit man met with Arce in Waterloo, and Arce said he wanted his girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend, “S.C.,” to be killed, according to the affidavit.

Arce explained he also might want the professor killed but that would be at a later time.

Arce told the informant he also makes homemade gun suppressors, and he agreed to pay the hit man up front with an automatic rifle and another one after he killed the ex-boyfriend. He didn’t care how the man was killed and told the hit man he could torture S.C. if he wanted.

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

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