Federal Jury Finds Kyle Man Guilty of Drug Conspiracy and Firearm Charges
United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that Brendon Janis, age 34, of Kyle, South Dakota, was found guilty of Conspiracy to Distribute 500 grams or more of Methamphetamine and Prohibited Person in Possession of a Firearm, as a result of a federal jury trial in Rapid City, South Dakota. The trial began Monday, August 26 and concluded Thursday, August 29, 2019. Janis was originally indicted by a federal grand jury on May 23, 2017.
The charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in custody up to life in custody and/or a $10,000,000 fine, 5 years up to life of supervised release, and a $200 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.
Janis was a participant in a drug conspiracy that was transporting methamphetamine from California to South Dakota. Once the methamphetamine arrived in South Dakota, Janis distributed it to others in the area of Kyle, on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Janis was himself a drug user. Law enforcement executed a search warrant at his residence on April 10, 2017. They located numerous firearms, 18 grams of methamphetamine, and copious items related to the use and distribution of methamphetamine.
Drug trafficking is an inherently violent activity. Firearms are tools of the trade for drug dealers. It is common to find drug traffickers armed with guns in order to protect their illegal drug product and cash, and enforce their illegal operations.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.
This case was investigated by the Badlands Safe Trails Task Force, which includes law enforcement from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, Bureau of Indian Affairs Drug Division, and the Oglala Sioux Tribe Department of Public Safety. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kathryn N. Rich and Gina Nelson prosecuted the case. Several co-conspirators have pled guilty, and two more await trial.
A presentence investigation was ordered. A sentencing date has not been set. The defendant was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.