Martell Man Pleads Guilty to Illegally Possessing Gun After Traffic Stop Search Uncovers Meth and Loaded Handgun

A man who illegally possessed a loaded handgun pled guilty today in federal court in Cedar Rapids.

Timothy James Hensley, age 44, from Martell, Iowa, was convicted of one count of being an unlawful drug user in possession of a firearm.

At the plea hearing, Hensley admitted that he unlawfully possessed a gun on October 19, 2020.  Evidence at a prior hearing showed that Hensley was stopped by a Linn County Sheriff’s Deputy for driving a truck with a license plate that belonged to a different vehicle.  During the stop, the Deputy learned that Hensley was barred from driving and had an outstanding warrant for failure to appear for court.  During a search of Hensley’s person, the Deputy found a container with methamphetamine, and during a search of a backpack found on the passenger’s seat, officers found approximately 27 grams of methamphetamine and a loaded .45 caliber handgun.

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.

Sentencing before United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams will be set after a presentence report is prepared.  Hensley remains in custody of the United States Marshal pending sentencing.  Hensley faces a possible maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release following any imprisonment.

The case was investigated by the Linn County Sheriff’s Office and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dan Chatham. 

Court file information at

The case file number is 21‑CR‑00036‑CJW-MAR.

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