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CEDAR RAPIDS — Authorities are asking the public’s help in locating two men in connection with federal firearms charges.

Acting U.S. Attorney Sean Berry unveiled charges against Willie Earl Johnson Jr., 45, of Waterloo, and Troy Postel-Vargason, 34, of Independence, on Monday in announcing 15 other cases filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Iowa’s Northern District in connection with recent weapons investigations.

“As Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently emphasized, the Department of Justice is committed to investigating, prosecuting, and deterring violent crime,” Berry said. “Historically, gun violence and crime rise sharply as temperatures rise.

“With summer approaching, my office will continue to work with the Cedar Rapids Safe Streets Task Force, Waterloo Federal Task Force and all of our federal, state and local partners to combat violent crime by prosecuting the most dangerous of criminal offenders, including those who unlawfully possess and use firearms.”

Postel-Vargason was found about two blocks from his home with a loaded Hi-Point 9 mm pistol that had a scratched off serial number Feb. 9. Independence police were responding to suspicious activity in the 1700 block of Third Street Northeast when they found him in a “hypothermic state” in a field with the weapon, more than $600 in cash and more than 500 grams of ice meth, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He is barred from possessing weapons because of two prior felony convictions, according to authorities.

Investigators were able to restore the serial number and determined the gun had been stolen during a November 2016 burglary in Independence.

Johnson is prohibited from handling firearms because of felony drug conviction in 1995, according to court records. On March 25, he allegedly stole a 9 mm Ruger pistol from a parked semi cab in the 100 block of Harrison Street, court records state. He is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and possession of a stolen firearm. He was initially arrested on state weapons charges and released on $10,000 bond.

Both cases were filed last week and unsealed Monday.

Other firearms cases filed in recent week include: Erwin Bell, 36, of Clinton; Gerraud Bruns, 26, of Dubuque; David Caldwell, 27, of Chicago; Daniel Henriksen, 29, of Elgin; Albert Gunnard Linne, 42, of Lowden; Nicodimus Coles, 21, Derek Hines, 32, James Mitchell, 36, Terrence Clark Shaffer, 23, and Darryl Williams, 29, all of Cedar Rapids; and Wayne Jones, 37, Dayton Myers, 20, Anntwan Dayshawn Phillips, 25, Jyshawn Robertson, 19, and Eric Sallis, 26, all of Waterloo.

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Police and Courts Reporter

Cops and courts reporter for the Courier

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