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Felon with gun, drugs sent to prison

CEDAR RAPIDS – A convicted drug felon who was found in possession of a stolen firearm was sentenced today to ten years in federal prison. Joseph Griffin-Cooke, age 29, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, received the prison term after a February 6, 2014, guilty plea to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.

In a plea agreement, Griffin-Cooke admitted that police approached him on October 2, 2013, at 4:00 am when they saw him driving in a suspicious manner in a neighborhood. Griffin-Cooke refused to cooperate with officers, then began reaching under the seat of the car in which he was sitting. Officers restrained Griffin-Cooke after a struggle in which one officer was injured. In the car, near the area where Griffin-Cooke was reaching, officers found a stolen, loaded .380 caliber pistol, marijuana packaged for sale, and cash. Griffin-Cooke was barred from possessing a firearm because he was a felon, having been convicted in 2007 in the Iowa District Court for Linn County of delivery of crack cocaine.

Griffin-Cooke was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Chief Judge Linda R. Reade. Griffin-Cooke was sentenced to the statutory maximum sentence of 120 months’ imprisonment. The court based the sentence, in part, upon Griffin-Cooke’s serious criminal history which included multiple violent assaults. A special assessment of $100 was imposed. He must also serve a three-year term of supervised release after the prison term. There is no parole in the federal system. Griffin-Cooke is being held in the United States Marshal’s custody until he can be transported to a federal prison.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney C.J. Williams and was investigated by the Cedar Rapids Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. This case was a result of the Cedar Rapids Safe Streets Task Force and was in furtherance of the Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative.

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