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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Northern District of Iowa

For Immediate Release

December 6, 2012

Sean R. Berry, United States Attorney

Contact: Timothy Duax, Public Information Officer
(712) 255-6011

Cedar Rapids Man Sentenced to 8 Years Imprisonment for Distribution of Crack Cocaine and Possessing a Firearm as a Felon

A felon who sold crack and possessed a gun was sentenced today to 8 years in federal prison.

Howard Lee Cooks, age 33, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, received the prison term after a July 30, 2012, guilty plea to one count of distribution of crack cocaine by a drug felon and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

The evidence in the case showed that on May 6, 2010, Cooks distributed 3.9 grams of crack cocaine to an undercover officer in the parking lot of a shopping center in Cedar Rapids. The evidence also showed that on May 19, 2011, Cooks possessed a firearm after having been convicted of a felony. In 2001, Cooks was convicted in Cook County, Illinois, of possession of marijuana with intent to deliver. On May 19, 2011, police responded to Cooks residence in Cedar Rapids after receiving a report of shots fired. Cooks had been in an altercation inside his home with a woman. During a consent search of the residence, police officers found a loaded .45 caliber pistol which Cooks had used to shoot at the woman as she ran from the house.

Cooks was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Chief Judge Linda R. Reade. Cooks was sentenced to 96 months’ imprisonment. A special assessment of $200 was imposed. He must also serve a six-year term of supervised release after the prison term. There is no parole in the federal system.

Cooks is being held in the United States Marshal’s custody until he can be transported to a federal prison.

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

Court file information is available at–bin/ The case file number is CR 12–0047.