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A man who led a group invading a Waterloo home was sentenced today to ten years in federal prison.

James Welton, age 41, from Independence, Iowa, received the prison term after a March 19, 2020 guilty plea to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.  Evidence at the sentencing hearing showed that Welton led a group of individuals into a Waterloo home on the evening of October 21, 2019.  The group was armed with two stolen firearms.  Once they got into the residence, they attempted to kidnap one of the residents, assaulted one person, and discharged both guns.

Welton was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams.  Welton was sentenced to 120 months’ imprisonment and fined $50,000.  He was also ordered to prepay the Court $8500 for the cost of his court appointed attorney.  He must also serve a three-year term of supervised release after the prison term.  There is no parole in the federal system.

Welton 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 Patrick Reinert and was investigated by the Waterloo Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

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

Court file information at https://ecf.iand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl

The case file number is 20-CR-2006.

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