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Waterloo drug user and dealer sentenced to prison, but set free to surrender later

CEDAR RAPIDS – A Waterloo man who unlawfully possessed a firearm was sentenced on March 14 to more than one year in federal prison.

Vantez Wright, Jr., age 19, from Waterloo, Iowa, received the prison term after an October 12, 2001, guilty plea to one count of possession of a firearm by a drug user.

At the guilty plea, Wright admitted that on February 26, 2021, he knowingly possessed a firearm, a Springfield .45 caliber pistol, as a prohibited person. Wright was prohibited from possessing a firearm because he was an unlawful user of marijuana, a controlled substance. During the execution of a search warrant at Wright’s house on February 26, 2021, police officers found a loaded .45 caliber handgun. Officers also found marijuana which Wright admitted regularly using and selling for extra money. Wright stated he preferred to have the gun at his house, “just in case.” Later at the police station, Wright provided a urine sample which tested positive for marijuana metabolites, confirming that defendant had recently used marijuana.

Wright was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams. Wright was sentenced to 15 months’ imprisonment. He must also serve a three-year term of supervised release after the prison term. There is no parole in the federal system.

Wright was released on the bond previously set and is to surrender to the United States Marshal on May 9, 2022.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Daniel C. Tvedt and investigated by the Waterloo Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

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