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Iowa pot-smoker with guns pleads guilty

justice1CEDAR RAPIDS – A marijuana user who unlawfully possessed two guns pled guilty Tuesday in federal court in Cedar Rapids.

Eric Lavell Johnson, age 28, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was convicted of one count of possession of a firearm by an illegal drug user.

At the plea hearing, Johnson admitted he was an unlawful user of marijuana on February 19, 2013, when officers from the Cedar Rapids Police Department executed a search warrant at defendant’s apartment in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. When officers breached the door, they saw defendant running from them, dropping several bags of marijuana. Defendant intended to flush the marijuana down the toilet to prevent officers from seizing the marijuana. In a closet in the apartment, officers found a duffel bag containing a digital scale and two firearms, a .22 caliber pistol and a .22 caliber rifle with a shortened stock. Defendant possessed the marijuana with the intent to distribute some or all of it to another person. Defendant told officers that he sold marijuana to make extra money to pay bills. A urine sample provided by defendant tested positive for THC, indicating marijuana use.

Sentencing before United States District Court Chief Judge Linda R. Reade will be set after a presentence report is prepared. Johnson remains in custody of the United States Marshal pending sentencing. Johnson faces a possible maximum sentence of ten years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, $100 in special assessments, and three years of supervised release following any imprisonment.

This case is being prosecuted as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a cooperative local, state and federal program aimed at the enhanced prosecution of gun crimes. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Daniel C. Tvedt and was investigated by the Cedar Rapids Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.

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