Law enforcement agencies across the state continue to make Iowa safer by addressing the problem of gun crime and violence. United States Attorney Peter E. Deegan, Jr. announced charges and arrests in thirty-one recent federal gun cases at a press conference held at the United States Attorney’s Office. Deegan was joined by Donald Dockendorf, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Thomas Reinwart, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Chief Dan Trelka, Waterloo Police Department, Deputy Chief Thomas Jonker, Cedar Rapids Police Department, Sergeant James Trainor, Iowa State Patrol, Investigator Nicholas Schlosser, Dubuque Police Department, and Captain Greg McGivern, Linn County Sheriff’s Office.
“Historically, gun violence rises during the spring and summer months,” Deegan stated. “All too often, an unlawfully-possessed gun can lead to an act of gun violence. The Department of Justice and this office is committed to working with all of our federal, state and local law enforcement partners to help keep our communities safe by taking unlawfully-possessed guns – and those who possess them – off the street.”
In recent weeks, the work of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies has resulted in the following matters in federal court in Cedar Rapids:
Harold Amos, age 39, of Tama County, Iowa; Brady Morgan, age 24, of Raymond, Iowa; Jesse Andrew Hall, age 20, of Cedar Falls, Iowa; Sejuan Marquise Walker, age 22, of Coralville, Iowa; Eric Allen Boyer, age 35, Alan Cherry, age 39, Willie B. Hodges II, age 57, Shane Lee LaGrange, age 35, Riley Michael Neff-Gonzales, age 19, Cleveland Dwayne Cole Smith, age 31, Alfred Washington, age 39, Victor Charles Wicher, age 37, Dominique Dwight Williams, age 29, all of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Ian Michael Bonnette, age 38, Jevonne Martell Coleman, age 32, Michael Joseph Dennison, age 41, Montecarlos Marteze Gant, age 35, Javontae Ernie Grisson, age 22, Patrick Andrew Lugrain, age 21, Kenneth Lamont Sanders, age 38, Marliesha Scott, age 38, Gerald Francis Straka, age 60, Davion Lashaun Trawick, age 18, William James Wesley, age 24, all of Dubuque, Iowa; Laika Burt, age 41, Scott Francis Gilson, age 38, Antonio Scott McGhee, age 27, Denzale Devon Babuta Ratliff, age 24, Antonio Rodriguez Ross, age 23, John Joseph Sanford, Jr., age 42, Mario Ronrico Smith, age 18, all of Waterloo, Iowa; have all been charged with various violations of federal law including being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm. The charges are contained in complaints and indictments filed recently in United States District Court in Cedar Rapids.
The complaint filed against Walker alleges that, on January 29, 2018, Walker was involved with stealing items, including a wallet and a Smith and Wesson 9mm semiautomatic handgun, from a vehicle in Alburnett, Iowa. Later that day, Walker used a credit card from the wallet at the Wal-Mart in Anamosa. In February, Walker was arrested outside an apartment complex in Coralville and the Smith and Wesson 9mm semiautomatic handgun was later recovered from a clothes dryer in the common area of the apartment building. The case file is 18-MJ-171.
The complaint filed against Boyer alleges that, on April 5, 2017, the Cedar Rapids Police Department executed a search warrant at Boyer’s home. Officers located Boyer hiding in a closet in a bedroom. In that same bedroom, officers seized a Glock .40 caliber pistol, a Ruger Super Redhawk .45 caliber revolver, and approximately 50 grams of suspected methamphetamine. The case file is 18-MJ-165.
The complaint filed against Washington alleges that, on November 1, 2017, officers with the Coralville Police Department attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a vehicle driven by Washington. Washington refused to stop, eventually escaping from police. Later that evening, officers with the Cedar Rapids Police Department observed Washington’s vehicle and attempted to conduct a traffic stop. Washington fled from officers, at times reaching speeds of approximately 85 miles per hour in a 35 mile-per-hour zone. Washington eventually crashed the vehicle and attempted to flee on foot. Officers eventually placed Washington in custody and located a Smith and Wesson SD40VE .40 caliber pistol approximately ten yards from where Washington was taken into custody. Washington had previously been convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence. The case file is 18-MJ-166.
The complaint filed against LaGrange alleges that, on December 29, 2017, the officers with the Cedar Rapids Police Department stopped LaGrange for driving with a suspended license. During a search of LaGrange’s vehicle, police located a loaded Hi-Point 9mm pistol which had previously been reported stolen. Police also located methamphetamine in LaGrange’s coat pocket. LaGrange had previously been convicted of at least five felony offenses including perjury, burglary, and felony drug crimes. The case file is 18-MJ-162.
The complaints and indictments filed against Amos, Burt, Cherry, Coleman, Gant, Hodges, Morgan, Ratliff, Sanders, Sanford, Smith, and Wicher allege that these defendants were in possession of a firearm after sustaining at least one conviction for a felony offense.
The complaints and indictments filed against Dennison, Gilson, Grisson, Hall, McGhee, Neff-Gonzales, Lugrain, Ross, Scott, Smith, Straka, Trawick, and Williams, allege that these defendants were in possession of a firearm while being an unlawful user of a controlled substance. Dennison is also charged with possessing a sawed-off shotgun not registered to him in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record. Lugrain is also charged with making a false statement during the purchase of a firearm. Neff-Gonzales is also charged with possessing a stolen firearm.
The indictment filed against Bonnette alleges that he possessed a Mossberg 500A 12-gauge shotgun after previously being committed to a mental institution. The indictment filed against Wesley alleges that he possessed a Smith and Wesson .38 caliber revolver while subject to a court order of protection and while under indictment for a felony offense.
If convicted on these charges, all defendants face at least a possible maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, $100 in special assessments, and three years of supervised release following any imprisonment.
Defendants Scott Francis Gilson, Riley Neff-Gonzales, Antonio Rodriguez Ross, Kenneth Lamont Sanders, Cleveland Swayne Cole Smith, and Davion Lashaun Trawick remain fugitives. Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of is asked to contact Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers at 319-232-5583, or 855-300-8477 or Linn County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-CS-CRIME (272-7463).
As with any criminal case, a charge is merely an accusation and each defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
The cases were brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that has been historically successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made turning the tide of rising violent crime in America a top priority. In October 2017, as part of a series of actions to address this crime trend, Attorney General Sessions announced the reinvigoration of PSN and directed all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to develop a district crime reduction strategy that incorporates the lessons learned since PSN launched in 2001.
The cases were investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Cedar Rapids Safe Streets Task Force (composed of representatives from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Marshal Service, and the Cedar Rapids Police Department), the Waterloo Federal Task Force (composed of the Waterloo Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms assisted by the Black Hawk County Sheriff’s Office and Cedar Falls Police Department), the Dubuque Police Department, the Linn County Sheriff’s Office, and the Iowa State Patrol.