A man who conspired to distribute methamphetamine while also illegally possessing a firearm was sentenced November 3, 2020, to 10 years in federal prison.
John Sanchez, 40, from Carroll, Iowa, received the prison term after a June 19, 2020, guilty plea to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and possession of firearm by a prohibited person.
At the plea hearing, evidence showed that Sanchez was involved in a conspiracy that distributed methamphetamine from May 2019 through August 2019 in the Carroll, Iowa area. On two occasions in July 2019, Sanchez distributed over 25 grams of pure methamphetamine to another individual. Further, in August 2019, law enforcement seized over 50 grams of pure methamphetamine from Sanchez. Sanchez later admitted he illegally owned a 9mm pistol. Sanchez was not legally permitted to own a gun for three reasons: he had been convicted of a felony; he was a user of illegal drugs at the time he possessed the gun; and he was previously convicted of a misdemeanor crime domestic violence.
Sanchez was sentenced in Sioux City by United States District Court Chief Judge Leonard T. Strand. Sanchez was sentenced to 120 months’ imprisonment. He must also serve a 5-year term of supervised release after the prison term. There is no parole in the federal system. Sanchez is being held in the United States Marshal’s custody until he can be transported to a federal prison.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN). PSN is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
This case is also part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. For more information about Project Guardian, please see https://www.justice.gov/ag/page/file/1217186/download.
The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Patrick T. Greenwood and investigated by Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, Carroll Police Department, United States Postal Inspection Service, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and Iowa Division of Criminalistics Investigation.
Court file information at https://ecf.iand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl.
The case file number is 20-3005. Follow us on Twitter @USAO_NDIA.