Public Safety

Cedar Rapids man faces at least 25 years for drugs and firearms

He illegally possessed 20 guns, 3 machine guns and a pipe bomb

Raven Burkhow
Raven Burkhow

CEDAR RAPIDS — A Cedar Rapids man Friday pleaded guilty to six charges of distributing drugs and illegally possessing firearms, including machine guns and a pipe bomb.

Raven Damien Burkhow, 25, originally charged with 42 counts, pleaded in U.S. District Court to conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance from September 2018 through April 29, 2019; two counts of use and possession of a firearm during and in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime on March 14 and April 29, 2019; possession of firearms — 20 handguns, long guns, silencers and pipe bomb — in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime on April 29; possession of machine guns — three on April 29; and possession of National Firearms Act firearm — pipe bomb — not registered to him on April 29.

Burkhow initially was arrested last year after authorities set up controlled buys with a confidential source who bought cocaine, firearms and gun silencers from Burkhow over the course of a few weeks, according to a complaint.

Court documents show a confidential source told authorities in March that Burkhow sold “ghost guns,” which are guns manufactured privately that don’t have manufacturer serial numbers used for identification and registration.

The source also said Burkhow sold silencers and rifles that were converted to fully automatic weapons.

Burkhow, according to the warrant, admitted to authorities he was a drug user and that there were guns and gold bars in his safe, but he wouldn’t provide law enforcement with a combination to the safe.

The 42-count indictment also included prosecutors asking for forfeitures of the firearms and money — $4,750 seized from Burkhow and his residence April 29, six gold bars — valued at more than $5,500 — and about $172,970 seized from his safe May 2.

Burkhow faces a mandatory minimum of 25 years and up to life in federal prison. He remains in jail pending sentencing, which will be set after a presentencing report is completed.

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