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Waterloo Man Convicted On Federal Marijuana, Gun, And Witness Tampering Charges

A Waterloo man who possessed a firearm while selling marijuana, and who intimidated witnesses prior to trial, was convicted by a jury yesterday after a three-day trial in federal court in Cedar Rapids.

Quintel Phillips, 26, from Waterloo, Iowa, was convicted of distributing marijuana near a school, possessing marijuana with intent to distribute near a school, possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, possession of a firearm as a felon and as an unlawful drug user, and two counts related to witness tampering. The verdict was returned yesterday afternoon following about 2 hours of jury deliberations.

The evidence at trial showed that Phillips sold high grade marijuana to a confidential informant. Phillips was carrying a handgun during the sale. Law enforcement subsequently executed a search warrant on the residence and found Phillips in possession of additional marijuana along with evidence that he intended to sell the marijuana, including plastic baggies, digital scales, and a large amount of cash. A loaded handgun with a scratched off serial number was found under a pillow on the bed near the marijuana.

While Phillips was awaiting trial on the drug and gun crimes, he instructed a third-party to call the confidential informant and pass along an intimidating message. Phillips also directly made several phone calls from the Linn County Jail to another witness, telling the witness that people knew where he lived and that people were going to kill him. The jury heard audio recordings of the phone calls and viewed jailhouse video showing Phillips using the phone at the time of the calls.

Sentencing before United States District Court Chief Judge Linda R. Reade will be set after a presentence report is prepared. Phillips will remain in custody of the United States Marshal pending sentencing. Phillips faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years’ imprisonment and a possible maximum sentence of life imprisonment, a $1,000,000 fine, $600 in special assessments, and a term of supervised release of at least 4 years and up to life, following his term of imprisonment.

The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Justin Lightfoot and Assistant United States Attorney Dan Tvedt, and was investigated by the Waterloo Police Department Violent Crime Apprehension Team (VCAT), the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, and the Tri-County Drug Task Force, which is composed of the Waterloo Police Department, Cedar Falls Police Department, Waverly
Police Department, Bremer County Sheriff’s Office, Black Hawk County Sheriff’s Office, LaPorte City Police Department, Evansdale Police Department, Hudson Police Department, and Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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