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Press Release

Mission Man Sentenced for Arson

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of South Dakota

PIERRE - United States Attorney Alison J. Ramsdell announced today that Chief Judge Roberto A. Lange, U.S. District Court, has sentenced a Mission, South Dakota, man convicted of Arson. The sentencing took place on March 13, 2023.

Tommy Vargas, a/k/a Tommy Lee Spotted Eagle, age 33, was sentenced to two years in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay a $100 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund and $74,633.15 restitution.

Vargas was indicted for Arson and Burglary by a federal grand jury in July of 2022. He pleaded guilty on December 8, 2022.

In the early morning hours of February 27, 2022, Vargas entered the Sinte Gleska University maintenance building without permission. Vargas freely moved within the building for approximately one hour, entering various rooms in the building. Vargas collected numerous items and removed them from the building. Vargas also found a gas can in the building and poured gas on the floor of building before disconnecting the surveillance system. Vargas then ignited the gas and exited the building. First responders were able to suppress the fire within 20 minutes, but the fire still caused damage to the building.

This case was investigated by Rosebud Sioux Tribe Law Enforcement Services and the South Dakota Fire Marshal. Assistant U.S. Attorney Abby Roesler prosecuted the case.

Vargas was immediately remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

Updated March 22, 2023

Indian Country Law and Justice