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Cedar Rapids man sentenced to 7 years in federal prison for possessing a handgun and intention of drug trafficking



Cedar Rapids, Iowa – A convicted felon will spend 7 years behind bars in a federal prison after he was sentenced for possession of a gun and having the intent to distribute drugs inside a Walmart.

Sylvester Cunningham, 41, was sentenced to prison in July 2021 after a two-day trial that resulted in a guilty verdict. Cunningham was found guilty of being a felon in possession of a firearm, possessing crack and powder cocaine with the purpose of distributing them, and using a handgun in the commission of a drug trafficking crime.

According to evidence presented at the trial, Cunningham, who was in a wheelchair, entered a Walmart and was transferred from his wheelchair to a Walmart electric shopping vehicle. A Walmart worker raised the cushion of Cunningham’s wheelchair and discovered a.357 caliber handgun when checking for a misplaced cellphone a short time later.

The off-duty officer who was providing protection for the company was alerted by the employee. The officer retrieved the handgun. Cunningham was apprehended when investigators discovered he was on federal supervised release for a prior firearm charge.

Officers discovered thirteen small baggies of crack and powder cocaine concealed in Cunningham’s clothes when searching him as part of his arrest.

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