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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of South Dakota

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 28, 2018

Lower Brule Man Charged with Drug Charges and Possession of a Firearm

United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that a Lower Brule, South Dakota, man has been indicted by a federal grand jury for Conspiracy to Distribute a Controlled Substance, Possession with Intent to Distribute a Controlled Substance, and Possession of a Firearm by a Prohibited Person.

Thomas James Eagle Thunder, age 21, was indicted on June 12, 2018.  He appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark A. Moreno on June 26, 2018, and pled not guilty to the Indictment.

The maximum penalty upon conviction is up to 20 years in federal prison and/or a $750,000 fine, up to 9 years of supervised release, and up to $300 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.  Restitution may also be ordered.

The Indictment alleges that commencing on or about August 1, 2017, Eagle Thunder knowingly and intentionally combined, conspired, confederated, and agreed with others to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute marijuana, which is a Schedule I controlled substance.  Eagle Thunder, on or about February 15, 2018, knowingly and intentionally possessed with intent to distribute marijuana.  Lastly, the Indictment also alleges that Eagle Thunder, being an unlawful user of, and addicted to a controlled substance, knowingly received and possessed several firearms, which had been shipped and transported in interstate and foreign commerce.

The charges are merely accusations and Eagle Thunder is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. 

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.   Attorney General Jeff Sessions 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.

The investigation is being conducted by the Northern Plains Safe Trails Drug Enforcement Task Force and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Meghan N. Dilges is prosecuting the case.   

Eagle Thunder was released on bond pending trial which has been set for August 21, 2018.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Indian Country Law and Justice
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Component(s): 
Updated June 28, 2018